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Sierra Club v. Block

Citation: 14 ELR 20009
No. No. 82-1576-PA, 576 F. Supp. 959/(D. Or., 11/30/1983)

The court deniesan injunction against a timber sale in a national forest roadless area, finding that the Forest Service (USFS) did not significantly violate its regulations and that plaintiffs are estopped from raising National Environmental Policy Act issues addressed five years earlier in an administrative challenge to the Willamette Forest Plan environmental impact statement (EIS). The court first rules that technical violations of USFS regulations governing planning of actions in floodplains do not invalidate the sale. The USFS should have allowed more time for comment on plans for a road, 40 feet of which may lie in a floodplain. But the court refuses to enjoin further construction of the road because its environmental impact will be minimal, the public had some opportunity to participate in the planning, no alternative routes seem feasible, and the road is nearly complete. The court holds that collateral estoppel bars plaintiffs from challenging the Service's failure to prepare a site-specific EIS for the sale. The sale area is covered in a 1977 programmatic EIS for the Willamette National Forest. Plaintiffs unsuccessfully challenged that EIS administratively and failed to seek judicial review. The environmental impacts raised by plaintiffs in the instant action were considered in the programmatic EIS. Although one plaintiff was not a party to the original action, the court holds that the plaintiff's interests were virtually represented in the administrative challenge. The court further rules that the inadequacy of the second roadless area review and evaluation EIS, completed after the programmatic EIS, is irrelevant. Also, since the programmatic EIS addressed wilderness potential, no supplemental assessment was necessary before the sale.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Kent Hickman
P.O. Box 1407, Albany OR 97321
(503) 928-9304

Counsel for Defendants
Charles H. Turner, U.S. Attorney; Thomas C. Lee
312 U.S. Cthse., 620 SW Main St., Portland OR 97205
(503) 221-2101

Douglas M. Ragen, John F. Neupert
Miller, Nash, Wiener, Hager & Carlsen
111 SW Fifth Ave., Portland OR 97204
(503) 224-5858