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League of Wilderness Defenders v. United States Forest Service

ELR Citation: 42 ELR 20162
Nos. 11-35451, (9th Cir., 07/30/2012)

The Ninth Circuit held that the U.S. Forest Service's EIS for a forest thinning research project in the Pringle Falls Experimental Forest within the Deschutes National Forest complies with NEPA. The project allows logging and controlled burning on roughly 2,500 acres of the Forest to reduce the risk of wildfire and beetle infestation. The project also allows the Service to conduct research on ponderosa pine forest management. The EIS’s statement of purpose and need and the range of alternatives considered in the EIS are reasonable. The Service proposes a forest management research project in an experimental forest specifically set aside for such study. The EIS considers in detail a reasonable range of alternatives that would fulfill both of the project's goals by reducing the risk of wildfire and beetle infestation, and by addressing six specified research objectives. In addition, the EIS is adequately supported by scientific data and takes a hard look at the significant impacts of the project.