Description: Challenge to the environmental review for a fuel-reduction project in Shasta-Trinity National Forest.
Conservation Congress v. U.S. Forest Service
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 05/17/2021 Order Download Defendants' and defendant-intervenor's motions for summary judgment granted and plaintiffs' motions denied. Federal Court Upheld Environmental Review for Forest Thinning Project. The federal district court for the Eastern District of California rejected challenges to the National Environmental Policy Act review for a forest thinning project. The court found that the U.S. Forest Service took a hard look at the project’s probable environmental consequences. Among the arguments rejected by the court were claims that the Forest Service’s consideration of the project’s greenhouse gas effects in the final environmental impact statement (EIS) was deficient. The court ruled that the plaintiffs were precluded from raising this argument because they did not raise greenhouse gas issues during the administrative process. The court also found that the plaintiffs failed to show that the Forest Service’s updated guidance for assessing greenhouse gas emissions constituted new information that affected the final EIS’s assessment of greenhouse gas emissions and therefore did not show that a supplemental EIS was required. The court also rejected claims under the National Forest Management Act, the Healthy Forest Restoration Act, and the Endangered Species Act. 05/28/2020 Order Download Motion to supplement the administrative record granted in part. Federal Court Allowed Addition of Climate Change Documents to Administrative Record in NEPA Challenge to Fuel-Reduction Project. The federal district court for the Eastern District of California allowed plaintiffs challenging a fuel-reduction project in Shasta-Trinity National Forest to supplement the administrative record in support of a claim that the U.S. Forest Service should have considered greenhouse gas emissions in assessing whether to prepare a supplemental environmental impact statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The two documents that the court allowed to be added to the record were a “Forest Carbon” chapter in a 2016 update to the Forest Service’s Resource Planning Act Assessment and a 2016 Forest Service document that described how to account for climate change when conducting a NEPA analysis. Because the documents did not exist at the time the Forest Service issued its record of decision in 2013, the court denied the plaintiffs’ request to add the documents to the record for their claim that the Forest Service failed to take a hard look.