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Earth Island Institute v. Carlton

ELR Citation: 40 ELR 20015
Nos. No. 09-16914, (9th Circ., 11/08/2010)

The Ninth Circuit affirmed a lower court order denying an environmental group's motion to preliminarily enjoin the U.S. Forest Service from conducting post-wildfire logging in the Plumas National Forest. The group argued that the Forest Service violated the NFMA because it failed to ensure the viability of the black-backed woodpecker—a management indicator species for the area. But the applicable forest plan required only the assessment of habitat for the black-backed woodpecker at the project level, and the Forest Service met that requirement. In addition, the Forest Service adequately responded to the group's dissenting scientific opinions in the project adoption phases. Nor did the court err in finding that the Forest Service’s tree mortality guidelines were not legally enforceable. As such, the Forest Service was not required to follow them. Accordingly, the lower court did not abuse its discretion in finding that the group failed to show that it was likely to succeed on the merits of its claims.