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Headwaters, Inc. v. BLM

ELR Citation: 18 ELR 21370
Nos. No. 87-1275-PA, 684 F. Supp. 1053/(D. Or., 05/03/1988)

The court holds that the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM's) decision to manage certain public domain lands for high-intensity timber harvesting does not violate the Federal Land Policy Management Act's mandate that BLM manage its lands for multiple use. The court first holds that the six-year statute of limitations for civil actions against the government in 28 U.S.C. §2410(a) is inapplicable. Plaintiff seeks to vacate a 1985 timber sale, and not the 1979 Management Framework Plan (MFP) and the final environmental impact statement (FEIS). The court holds that plaintiff exhausted its administrative remedies, since it raised its claim before the district BLM office and Interior Board of Land Appeals. The court holds that plaintiff's action was filed in a timely manner, and thus laches does not apply. The court then holds that BLM's multiple use analysis was adequate. The 1979 MFP for the unit in which the timber sale lands are located discussed multiple uses, and BLM studied numerous resources in the area other than timber, generated alternative management plans to minimize conflicts, and supported each alternative with a rationale. The court holds that a site-specific multiple use analysis of the public domain lands is not required, since those lands were covered in broad discussions in the MFP. The court holds that plaintiff has not demonstrated that BLM was prejudiced against nontimber alternatives, since the agency did not make any management proposal farming timber harvest until the FEIS. Finally the court holds that the multiple use analysis and the decision to log the public domain lands were not arbitrary and capricious. Once a valid multiple use analysis is conducted, BLM may favor one resource use over another. Moreover, BLM manages most of the public domain lands in this administrative unit for nontimber uses.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Charles G. Levin
Headwaters, Inc.
P.O. Box 1075, Grants Pass OR 97526
(503) 474-6034

Counsel for Federal Defendants
Charles H. Turner, U.S. Attorney; Thomas C. Lee, Ass't U.S. Attorney
312 U.S. Courthouse
620 SW Main, Portland OR 97205
(503) 221-2101