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Idaho Sporting Congress v. Alexander

Citation: 33 ELR 20050
No. No. 01-35386, 45 Fed. Appx. 788/(9th Cir., 09/05/2002) Dist. Ct. rev'd in part

The court reverses a district court dismissal of two counts of an environmental group's suit alleging that five U.S. Forest Service (Forest Service) timber sales in the Payette National Forest in Idaho violate the National Forest Management Act (NFMA). The two dismissed counts alleged that the Forest Service failed to monitor and protect certain old growth species from the effects of the timber sale as required by the NFMA. A permanent injunction currently bars the Forest Service from proceeding with any of the five timber sales. The court holds, nevertheless, that the group's NFMA claims are not moot for two of the sales. Effective relief is still available to mitigate any damage that occurred at two of the sales before the injunction was issued. Additionally, although the two counts address forestwide management requirement under the NFMA, they are sufficiently tied to the group's particular challenge to the two sales as to be reviewable under the Administrative Procedure Act. Further, issue preclusion does not bar the counts because the issues being litigated are not the issues that had been previously litigated in a separate case between the parties. Therefore, the two counts are remanded to the district court to determine if the Forest Service violated the NFMA as to the two sales. The court holds, however, that for the remaining three sales, no logging occurred at these sites before the injunction. Thus, no effective relief is available for these sales and the group's NFMA claims are moot for these sales. The court finally holds that the group has no standing to challenge the summary judgment that the district court issued in its favor on its National Environmental Policy Act claims because the group has suffered no cognizable injury.

[A prior decision in this litigation is published at 31 ELR 20038.]

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Thomas J. Woodbury
Woodard, Hill & Primm
600 Travis St., Houston TX 77002
(713) 221-3800

Counsel for Defendants
D. Marc Haws, Ass't Attorney General
Attorney General's Office
877 W. Main St., Ste. 201, Boise ID 83702
(208) 334-9335/1211