Judge Says U.S. Forest Service Plans Violate Federal Environmental Law

(SAN FRANCISCO Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2009, 12:15 p.m.)—U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel ruled that the U.S. Forest Service’s plans to designate almost one million acres within four national forests for “possible road building and other development” violates the National Environmental Policy Act.

The court decided that the forest service ignored the “larger picture” of how allowing more development in currently roadless areas would affect the forests’ landscapes and wildlife while recommending only 79,000 acres for wilderness designation.

According to Ileene Anderson of the Center for Biological Diversity, part of a coalition of environmental groups who brought the lawsuit, said in a press release: “…the forests are increasingly subject to disturbances ranging from off-road vehicle abuse to oil and gas development to invasive species, the impacts of many of which are exacerbated by road building.”

The Los Padres, Angeles, San Bernardino and Cleveland National Forests represent over 3.5 million acres of public land from Big Sur to the Mexican border, the Los Padres alone encompassing almost 2 million acres.


This is part of the September 25, 2009 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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