Timber, Beef and Off-Road Vehicle Industries Accuse Forest Service of Paying Too Much Attention to Scientists
Friday, August 17, 2012
Logging in national forest (photo: The Clinch Coalition)
Federal forestry officials have too often made decisions regarding National Forests that ignore the private sector’s bottom-line in favor of preservation and sustainability, according to a lawsuit by timber, ranching and off-road vehicle interest groups.
The Federal Forest Resource Coalition, which represents timber companies, and 13 other industry organizations sued the U.S. Forest Service for what they say is the illegal regulation of forest lands, which involved giving too much weight to scientists’ analyses over the concerns of businesses. The lawsuit follows the March finalizing of an Obama administration planning rule that determines how the Forest Service revises land management plans for each national forest.
The plaintiffs accuse Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack and the Forest Service of breaking numerous federal laws, including the National Forest Management Act, the Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act, the Organic Administration Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.
According to the industry lawyers, the government has improperly used the Organic Administration Act to justify policies with “aesthetic, environmental, recreational, or wildlife-preservation purposes.” But the plaintiffs claim the U.S. Supreme Court interpreted the law to have only two purposes—to conserve water and furnish a continuous supply of timber.
To Learn More:
Money Should Come Before Trees in National Forests, Industries Say (by Ryan Abbott, Courthouse News Service)
Groups File Lawsuit Challenging New Forest Service Planning Rule (by Phil Taylor, Greenwire)
Federal Forest Resource Coalition et al. v. Thomas Vilsack (U.S. District Court, District of Columbia) (pdf)
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