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West Virginia Div. of the Izaak Walton League v. Butz

Citation: 5 ELR 20573
No. No. 74-1387, 522 F.2d 945/8 ERC 1076/(4th Cir., 08/21/1975) Aff'd

The Organic Act of 1897 provides that only dead and mature or large timber may be cut in national forests, and requires in addition that all such trees be individually marked prior to harvesting. The U.S. Forest Service is therefore prohibited from contracting for or allowing clearcutting in the Monongahela National Forest. This view is based on a literal reading of the statute, and is supported by an examination of its legislative history. The Multiple-Use Sustained Yield Act of 1960 did not repeal these restrictions on timber sales from the national forests, nor did it constitute congressional ratification of the relatively new Forest Service policy of allowing clearcutting. If such restrictions are an anachronism which no longer serves the public interest, then Congress, not the courts, is the proper forum in which to resolve the issue. A lower court decision enjoining the Forest Service from allowing any further clearcutting in the Monongahela Forest and ordering the agency to revise its regulations accordingly is affirmed. For the district court's opinion, order issuing the injunction, and denial of defendants' motion to amend the order, see 3 ELR 20895, 4 ELR 20128, and 4 ELR 20229. See also Comment, Fourth Circuit Affirms Ban of Clearcutting in Monongahela National Forest 5 ELR 10175 (Oct. 1975).

Counsel for Plaintiffs-Appellees
Bruce J. Terris
Helen Cohn Needham
1908 Sunderland Place, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036

John D. Leshy
Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.
664 Hamilton Ave.
Palo Alto, Cal. 94301

James W. Moorman
Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, Inc.
311 California St.
San Francisco, Cal. 94104

James C. West
Jones, Williams, West & Jones
Union Bank Building
Clarksburg, W. Va. 26301

Counsel for Defendants-Appellants
Wallace H. Johnson Asst. Attorney General
Dirk D. Snel
Raymond N. Zagone
L. Mark Wine
Department of Justice
Washington, D.C. 20530

Counsel for Amicus Curiae National Forest Products Assn.
Robert E. Jordan, III
William K. Condrell
Steptoe & Johnson
1250 Connecticut Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036

Counsel for Amici Curiae Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers, Inc. & West Virginia Forests, Inc.
Luther E. Woods
James R. Bailes
Campbell, Woods, Bagley, Emerson, McNeer & Herndon
14th Floor Coal Exchange Building
Huntington, W. Va. 25719