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Plum Creek Timber Co. v. Trout Unlimited

ELR Citation: 33 ELR 20185
Nos. No. CV02-365-C-EJL, (D. Idaho, 03/31/2003)

The court rejects a timber company's Declaratory Judgment Act claim against two private environmental groups, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). The environmental groups filed a notice of intent to sue the FWS and the NMFS under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) challenging their approval of a native fish habitat conservation plan that established habitat conservation on lands owned by the timber company. The timber company then sought declaratory relief as to the legality of the plan "under all applicable federal law." The company's claim, however, is not ripe for review, hearing it would consume valuable judicial resources given the breadth of the claim, and the mere fact that the company has invested time and money in implementing the plan does not justify invocation of the Act. In addition, allowing the action to proceed would be inconsistent with the purposes of the U.S. Congress in establishing a citizen suit provision in the ESA.

Counsel for Plaintiff
James R. Johnston
Perkins Coie
1201 Third Ave., Ste. 4800, Seattle WA 98101
(206) 583-8888

Counsel for Defendant
Debra A. Ferguson
U.S. Attorney’s Office
877 W. Main St., Ste. 201, Boise ID 83702
(208) 334-1211