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Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance v. U.S. Forest Serv.

ELR Citation: 26 ELR 20345
Nos. No. 94-C-917G, 897 F. Supp. 1394/(D. Utah, 07/28/1995)

The court holds that the U.S. Forest Service was not required to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act for its treatment plan to reduce a spruce bark beetle infestation in the Dixie National Forest. The court first holds that the environmental groups have standing to maintain their challenge to the Forest Service's environmental assessment (EA) and finding of no significant impact (FONSI) for the plan. The groups stated that their members use and enjoy the Dixie National Forest. The court next holds that the Forest Service was not required to prepare an EIS for the plan. The Forest Service's EA and FONSI are detailed and rationally based, and the agency took the necessary "hard look" at the potential environmental consequences of the plan's implementation. The court denies the group's request for a preliminary injunction. The balance of harms is weighted in favor of the Forest Service and against the groups, because if no injunction is issued, the groups will not suffer irreparable harm, whereas the forest's old growth spruce will likely be destroyed. Moreover, the groups are not likely to prevail on the merits.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Heidi McIntosh
Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance
1471 S. 1100 East Sts., Salt Lake City UT 84105
(801) 486-3161

Counsel for Defendants
Stephen L. Roth, Ass't U.S. Attorney
U.S. Attorney's Office
476 U.S. CtHse., 350 S. Main St., Salt Lake City UT 84101
(801) 524-5682