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The Supreme Court Restricts the Availability of Forest-Wide Judicial Review in Ohio Forestry Association v. Sierra Club

November 1998

Citation: ELR 10621

Author: Steven P. Quarles & Thomas R. Lundquist

Editors' Summary: This past summer, the U.S. Supreme Court rendered its decision in Ohio Forestry Ass'n v. Sierra Club, 118 S. Ct. 1665, 28 ELR 21119 (1998). The Court held that an environmental group's challenge to a U.S. Forest Service land and resource management plan for the Wayne National Forest in Ohio was not ripe for review. This Article examines how this decision affects the rules for judicial review of national forest plans. After providing general background information on national forest planning and decisionmaking, the authors describe the claims raised in the Wayne National Forest case and treatment of the claims by the lower courts. This is followed by a discussion on the Supreme Court's opinion and the reasoning used in reaching its decision. Last, the authors focus on the implications this case will have on future challenges.

Mr. Quarles is a partner in, and Mr. Lundquist is special counsel to, the Washington, D.C., law firm of Crowell & Moring LLP. The authors represented the Ohio Forestry Association before the Supreme Court.