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Conservation Congress v. Finley

ELR Citation: 44 ELR 20270
Nos. 12-16916, (9th Cir., 12/16/2014)

The Ninth Circuit affirmed a lower court decision granting summary judgment in favor of the federal government on claims that it violated ESA, NEPA, and National Forest Management Act in connection with its approval of a lumber thinning and fuel reduction project in northern California. An environmental group alleged that the government failed to consult adequately as to the project's potential effect on the threatened Northern Spotted Owl. But the lower court properly granted summary judgment to the government on the group's claims. The Forest Service did not fail to consider any allegedly new information that was not previously considered, and FWS and the Forest Service did not fail to use “the best scientific and commercial data available” as required by the ESA. In addition, the agencies' consultations and conclusions that the project was not likely to adversely affect the owl were adequate under NEPA and its implementing regulations.