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Kleissler v. U.S. Forest Serv.

Citation: 29 ELR 21358
No. No. 98-3352, 183 F.3d 196/48 ERC 1983/(3d Cir., 06/30/1999) exhaustion of individual's administrative remedies

The court holds that an individual failed to exhaust his administrative remedies before suing the U.S. Forest Service for violating the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the National Forest Management Act (NFMA) in connection with two timber cutting projects in the Allegheny National Forest. After filing administrative appeals for both projects, the individual filed NEPA and NFMA claims in federal district court. The court first holds that the claims raised in the administrative appeal differed greatly from the claims raised in federal court. Therefore, the challenges raised during the administrative appeal did not sufficiently place the Forest Service on notice, giving it an opportunity to address all of the allegations ultimately raised in federal court. The court next holds that the individual should have raised his claims concerning the Forest Service's landscape corridor approach regarding the forest during the administrative appeal. Contrary to the individual's contention, the administrative process for the two timber projects was not limited to site-specific comments. Moreover, the individual's claims concerning the landscape corridor actually concerned areas outside the corridor and, thus, could appropriately be raised during the administrative process for the specific site plans.

[A prior decision in this litigation is published at 29 ELR 20152.]

Counsel for Appellants
William V. Luneburg
University of Pittsburgh
School of Law
3900 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh PA 15260
(412) 648-1400

Counsel for Appellee
Bonnie R. Schlueter
U.S. Attorney's Office
633 U.S. Post Office & CtHse.
7th Ave. & Grant Sts., Pittsburgh PA 15219
(412) 644-3500

Before Alito and Lewis, JJ.