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Oregon Natural Resources Council v. U.S. Forest Serv.

Citation: 17 ELR 20966
No. No. 86-6504-BU, 659 F. Supp. 1441/25 ERC 2027/(D. Or., 03/31/1987, 05/07/1987)

The court holds that the Forest Service's reoffer for sale of timber in a national forest in Oregon was not a decision under the Federal Timber Contract Payment Modification Act's (FTCPMA) implementing regulations and hence is not subject to appeal, and the Forest Service adequately reviewed the potential cumulative environmental impacts of the sale. The court first holds that a reoffer of timber is not an appealable decision within the meaning of the FTCPMA regulations. Congress did not contemplate full review of the Service's earlier decision to sell the timber when it provided for priority reoffer of timber from returned contracts. The court next holds that § 320 of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriation Act of 1986, which provides that the resale of Forest Service timber included in sales defaulted by the purchaser or returned under the FTCPMA shall be subject only to one level of administrative appeal, does not mandate one level of review. Rather, it acts as a limit on any right to administrative appeal that exists. The court then holds that defendant adequately reviewed the cumulative environmental impacts of the timber sale. The hard look that is required by the National Environmental Policy Act was taken, and the final environmental impact statement discussed the consequences in sufficient detail. The court holds plaintiffs' allegation that § 313 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA) was violated to be premature since plaintiffs failed to fulfill the 60-day notice requirement in FWPCA § 505(b). The court notes that even if plaintiffs had complied with § 505, the claim would be rejected since it is not clear that the clearcutting of the timber will have any significant water quality effects on the river. Finally, the court rejects a claim by the timber company for costs arising out of activities by individuals who physically attempted to stop construction associated with the logging.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Ralph Bradley
Bradley and Gordon
1397 Willamette St., Eugene OR 97401
(503) 343-8247

Counsel for Defendants
Thomas C. Lee, Ass't U.S. Attorney
312 U.S. Cthse., 620 SW Main St., Portland OR 97205
(503) 221-2101