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Federal Forest Resource Coalition v. Vilsack

ELR Citation: 45 ELR 20083
Nos. 12-1333, (D.D.C., 04/28/2015) (Jackson, J.)

A district court held that trade associations and nonprofit corporations representing members of the timber industry lack standing to challenge the Forest Service's 2012 planning rule governing development of individual land and resource management plans for the 155 national forests and 20 national grasslands that the agency oversees. The plaintiffs alleged that the planning rule exceeds the agency's statutory authority by requiring land management plans to privilege environmental goals, such as maintaining "ecological sustainability" and "ecosystem services," over other competing uses of national forests, such as logging, grazing, and recreation. But they failed to show how the rule threatens an injury-in-fact that is imminent, or particularized. The plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that the planning rule actually will cause the harmful reduction in timber harvest and land use that they claim will be detrimental to their membership. Nor could they show any such reduction would follow "imminently" from implementation of the rule, or that any such reductions would occur with respect to land management plans governing particular forests that their members currently use. Moreover, because the alleged injuries cannot be traced to the challenged action, plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that the 2012 planning rule will cause their members harm. The plaintiffs, therefore, lack standing.