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Utah Envtl. Congress v. Richmond

ELR Citation: 37 ELR 20096
Nos. No. 06-4059, (10th Cir., 04/30/2007)

The Tenth Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part the U.S. Forest Service's (Forest Service's) approval of a timber sale project in a portion of the Ashley National Forest in Utah. The court rejected an environmental group's claim that the Forest Service failed to assess the project's impact on old growth tress and that it failed to comply with old growth standards in violation of the National Forest Management Act (NFMA). Nor did the Forest Service fail to assess the project's cumulative impacts on water quality and on the Colorado River cutthroat trout in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act. However, in approving the project, the Forest Service failed to adequately monitor the Colorado River cutthroat trout, a management indicator species. There is no evidence that the Forest Service utilized the "best available science" standard in approving the project, as required by the current NFMA regulations. Similarly, there is no evidence that the Forest Service considered the best available science concerning water quality. The court, therefore, remanded the approval for further consideration by the agency.