Apr 282015

A coalition of "timber, ranching, and forest recreation industries" lack standing to challenge the Forest Service's 2012 planning rule, a federal judge has ruled (Federal Forest Resource Coalition v. Vilsack, 12-1333 KBJ, D.D.C.).

"Plaintiffs have failed to show that the 2012 Planning Rule threatens an injury-in-fact that is imminent, or particularized. Moreover, because the injuries that plaintiffs allege cannot be traced to the challenged action of the defendant, plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate that the 2012 Planning Rule will cause them harm," U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson said in her opinion, issued today.

She previously issued an order in the case; the opinion elucidates the reasons behind that order.

"The gravamen of plaintiffs’ complaint . . . is the contention that the 2012 Planning Rule exceeds the Forest Service’s statutory authority by requiring land management plans to privilege environmental goals, such as maintaining 'ecological sustainability' and 'ecosystem services,' over other competing uses of national forests, such as logging, grazing, and recreation," the judge summarized.

The plaintiffs are:

Federal Forest Resource Coalition, American Forest Resource Council, Blueribbon Coalition, California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs, Public Lands Council, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, American Sheep Industry Association, Alaska Forestry Association, Resource Development Council For Alaska, Minnesota Forest Industries Inc., Minnesota Timber Producers Association, California Forestry Association, and Montana Wood Products Association.

Four environmental groups intervened on the side of the government: Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, Oregon Wild, The Wilderness Society and Defenders of Wildlife.