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Los Padres ForestWatch v. U.S. Forest Service

ELR Citation: 50 ELR 20199
Nos. CV-19-5925-PJW, (C.D. Cal., 08/20/2020) (Walsh, J.)

A district court denied summary judgment for environmental groups in a challenge to the Forest Service's approval of a tree-thinning project in Los Padres National Forest. The groups argued that the Service violated NEPA by failing to properly analyze the risk to endangered California condors before approving the project, and sought to have the decision vacated. The court found that the Service consulted with its experts, considered the science, listened to opposing views, and performed a careful analysis before determining that the project was not likely to adversely affect the endangered condor and did not involve critical habitat for the species, and thus that its decision to approve the project without conducting an EA or an EIS was neither arbitrary nor capricious. It therefore denied the groups' motion for summary judgment and granted summary judgment to the Service.