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Alliance for the Wild Rockies v. United States Forest Service

ELR Citation: 48 ELR 20143
Nos. 16-35829, (9th Cir., 08/13/2018)

The Ninth Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part a district court's summary judgment in favor of the U.S. Forest Service's approval of a site-specific project concerning restoration activities on roughly 80,000 acres in Payette National Forest in Idaho. Environmental groups challenged the approval, arguing that the project arbitrarily and capriciously deviated from a forest-wide management plan by designating certain land to be managed for landscape restoration that was previously managed for commodity production. The court agreed, concluding that the site-specific project's redesignation of land deviated from the standards, guidelines, and desired conditions set forth in the forest-wide plan and thus violated the National Forest Management Act. The groups also argued that the Forest Service violated NEPA by improperly incorporating prior standards and science underlying wildlife conservation strategy amendments into the site-specific project's EIS. But the court found that the groups did not identify any analysis required under NEPA that was not performed in the project's EIS. The court therefore remanded to the agency for further proceedings.