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Oregon Natural Resources Council v. BLM

ELR Citation: 36 ELR 20244
Nos. No. 05-35245, (9th Cir., 12/04/2006)

The court held that the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) environmental assessment (EA) for a logging project in Oregon violated the National Environmental Policy Act and that the lower court erred in dismissing the case as moot. Although the harvested trees cannot be restored, harm to old growth species may yet be remedied by any number of mitigation strategies. Hence, an appropriate EA can yield effective post-harvest relief and the case is not moot. In addition, BLM's failure to take the requisite "hard look" in this case has present consequences. The EA failed to disclose and consider quantified and detailed information regarding the cumulative impact of the logging project combined with past, present, and reasonably foreseeable logging projects, and it was tiered to other documents that did not contain the requisite site-specific information about cumulative effects. On remand, the district court must enjoin the remainder of the project until BLM provides a revised EA, including the required hard look at cumulative impacts of the logging already completed on contiguous habitat areas or neighboring habitat areas to be impacted by contemplated future sales.