December litigation that doesn’t directly involve the Forest Service

December litigation that doesn’t directly involve the Forest Service

Five new lawsuits were filed against the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service related to species found on national forests.

The Center for Biological Diversity and Maricopa Audubon sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to update the critical habitat designation for the endangered Mount Graham red squirrels on the Coronado National Forest.

A coalition of conservation organizations has sued the U.S. Department of Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Montana District court on grounds that the government has failed to prepare a recovery plan for Canada lynx after being ordered by a court to do so by January 2018.

Seven environmental groups have filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of California that seeks a court order requiring the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service to complete its five-year review of the owl’s protected status and to issue a final decision on the petition to upgrade the owl from a threatened to endangered species.

  • Wolverine (includes a link to one complaint)

Two lawsuits, involving 25 plaintiffs, have been filed in the Montana District court against the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its decision to not list the wolverine as a threatened or endangered species on October 8.

The Center for Biological Diversity has filed a lawsuit in the District of Columbia District court challenging the Trump administration’s recent termination of a program aimed at restoring grizzly bears to the North Cascades in Washington.

The BLM was sued over its management of the Carrizo Plain National Monument.

The Center for Biological Diversity and Los Padres Forest Watch have sued the Bureau of Land Management in the Central District of California court to reverse its approval of what would be the first new oil well and pipeline in Carrizo Plain National Monument since it was established in 2001.

Other oil and gas litigation involving public lands and waters.

  • Beaufort Sea (court decision) (includes a link to the opinion)

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the proposed Liberty project, which would have involved the construction and operation of a nine-acre artificial island and a 5.6-mile pipeline along the Alaska coast in the Beaufort Sea.  The court faulted to Bureau of Ocean Energy Management for arbitrary modeling of economic effects of climate change, and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service for inadequate analysis of effects on polar bears.

Native Alaskans and environmental groups are asking a federal district court to block the Trump administration from selling oil drilling rights on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on January 6th.  Environmentalists were already challenging the Interior Department’s August decision to formally authorize an oil auction.

Earthjustice filed a lawsuit in the District Court of Alaska challenging the Willow Master Development Plan oil and gas project in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve in the western Arctic because of its effects on climate change and polar bears.  Earthjustice sued the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace.

We have discussed the topic of “political interference” in agency decisions; here is a case about that.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona found sufficient evidence of bad faith to grant a motion authorizing discovery and compelling the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) to produce internal documents showing whether political corruption influenced an abrupt reversal of policy regarding a huge property development near the San Pedro River.  The court stated:

“Director Spangle plainly admitted that he was forced to concur on a decision that was his to make…  Director Spangle’s statements call FWS’ entire decision-making process into question. These statements, at the very least, support a showing of bad faith sufficient to warrant deliberative materials and limited extra-record discovery.”

And the Colorado pooping story (which does directly involve the Forest Service) continues.

David Lesh posted a photo on social media that allegedly showed him defecating in Maroon Lake on the White River National Forest. U.S. Magistrate Gordon Gallagher ruled Oct. 30 that because of Lesh’s latest action, he was prohibited from “entering onto, being on, or remaining on National Forest System Land” while awaiting disposition of his court case.  Lesh’s attorney filed a motion Nov. 24 contending the Maroon Lake picture was a fabrication and should not have triggered the forestland ban.  In response, the government brief said, “The actual position of the Government has been and continues to be that the mere posting of the Maroon Lake photo was an act of impermissible defiance to the Court’s authority by the defendant, regardless of whether the image is genuine or not.”





via The Smokey Wire : National Forest News and Views

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