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Olympic Forest Coalition v. U.S. Forest Serv.

ELR Citation: 38 ELR 20127
Nos. No. 07-5344, (W.D. Wash., 05/09/2008)

A district court held that the U.S. Forest Service's environmental assessment (EA) for a logging project in the Olympic National Forest violated the National Environmental Policy Act. In 1994, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Forest Service issued a record of decision for the Northwest Forest Plan setting forth an aquatic conservation strategy (ACS) for logging projects on national forests and BLM lands. The agencies amended the ACS in 2004, deleting many of the requirements. In March 2007, a district court vacated those amendments, thereby reinstating the ACS requirements that were in place prior to 2004. The logging project at issue in this case was prepared after the 2004 Amendments but prior to the 2007 opinion vacating those amendments. A Forest Service supervisor issued a letter stating that the project complied with the 1994 ACS requirements and that a correction, revision, or supplement to the EA for the project was not necessary. The Forest Service, however, should have gone back and analyzed the project under the 1994 ACS requirements. The letter was insufficient to cure the deficiency in the EA.