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Texas Comm. on Natural Resources v. Bergland

Citation: 7 ELR 20720
No. No. TY-76-268-CA, 433 F. Supp. 1235/10 ERC 1326/(E.D. Tex., 05/24/1977)

The district court enjoins the further use of clearcutting and other even-age timber management techniques in the national forests of Texas pending preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS) that complies with the mandates of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The court finds that there are significant adverse environmental effects associated with clearcutting and even-age management, that clearcutting is a controversial issue, that the Forest Service had not filed a programmatic impact statement on its even-age timber management policies in this area subsequent to NEPA's enactment, and that the documents addressing the subject did not adequately discuss impacts and alternatives. The court holds that the actions of the Forest Service in failing to prepare the required EIS were unreasonable as well as being arbitrary and capricious. NEPA requires that the agency review the cumulative effects of the policy of conversion to even-aged forests. Whereas an individual clearcut may not have significant environmental effects, the total effect of widespread and continued clearcutting is significant and must be addressed in a programmatic statement.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
William H. Kugle, Jr., Henry T. Skelton, Jr.
Kugle, Douglas & Skelton
P.O. Box 152, Athens TX 75751
(214) 675-5151

Edward Fritz
4144 Cochran Chapel Rd., Dallas TX 75221
(214) 352-8370

Counsel for Defendants
Roy Hadden, U.S. Attorney; C. Houston Abel, Ass't U.S. Attorney
Room 310, U.S. Courthouse, 221 W. Ferguson St., Tyler TX 75701
(214) 597-8146

L. Mark Wine
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 739-2846

Counsel for Defendant-Intervenors A.A. Steely Lumber Company
James R. Cornelius, Jr., Kenzie D. Hallmark
Zelesky, Cornelius, Rogers, Berry & Hallmark
403 S. Chestnut St., Lufkin TX 75901
(713) 632-3381

Counsel for Defendant-Intervenors Texas Forestry Association
James G. Ullmer
Baker & Botts
2100 Transco Tower, Houston TX 77056
(713) 621-9100