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Cascadia Wildlands v. Thrailkill

ELR Citation: 45 ELR 20239
Nos. 14-35819, (9th Cir., 12/03/2015)

The Ninth Circuit affirmed a lower court decision denying environmental groups' motion to preliminarily enjoin a forest fire recovery project in the southern Oregon Klamath Mountains. After a fire destroyed approximately 48,000 acres of forest in Oregon, BLM initiated the project to salvage remaining Northern spotted owl habitat and optimize the growth of new habitat. Pursuant to ESA §7, it consulted with FWS, which issued a biological opinion concluding that the project was not likely to jeopardize the owl or destroy or adversely modify its critical habitat. The groups then filed suit, challenging FWS' findings in the biological opinion, and sought a preliminary injunction. But the groups failed to prove a likelihood of success on the merits. FWS' conclusions were supported by the best available science and were not arbitrary and capricious. And the lower court acted within its discretion in denying the injunction.