18 Nov 2010, 9:57pm
Latest Forest News
by admin

Appeals court upholds Moonlight decision

[New] efforts [by the enviros who lost the Moonlight case] to protect [non-endangered un-threatened] woodpeckers could affect [post-fire] salvage logging [on private lands as well]

by Delaine Fragnoli, Managing Editor, Plumas News, 11/17/2010 [here]

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a district court decision denying an injunction for the Moonlight-Wheeler Fire Recovery and Restoration Project.

The appeals court found “the record shows that the district court correctly applied” legal precedent “in its analysis throughout its thoroughly reasoned opinion.”

Environmental group Earth Island Institute (EII) had filed suit in July 2009 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California to stop the Moonlight project proposed by the Plumas National Forest. The group asked the court to enjoin the Forest Service from awarding, beginning or continuing the operation of any timber sales related to the project. [For more on the Moonlight Fire, see here]

United States District Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr. issued his opinion in August 2009 denying the injunction.

Damrell’s opinion relied heavily on a 2008 Supreme Court decision, Winter v. NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). Damrell ruled that EII had not met the legal standard for a preliminary injunction. [For more on Winter see here]

As outlined in the Winter decision, a plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction must meet four criteria: that it is likely to succeed on the merits of its claims; it is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief; the balance of equities must tip in its favor; and the injunction must be in the public interest.

Damrell found that EII had failed all of these tests. The appeals court found that he had appropriately applied the Winter standards. One judge on the three-judge appeal panel dissented.

The decision has a greater effect moving forward as precedent than it does on the ground presently. According to Forest Service spokeswoman Lee Anne Schramel, because there was never an injunction, the agency went ahead with the work, which is now virtually complete.

In a move that could affect future salvage logging on private timberlands, EII and the Center for Biological Diversity filed a petition last month to have the black-backed woodpecker protected under the state Endangered Species Act.

The bird prefers post-fire ecosystems, nesting in burned trees and feeding on insects that attack fire-killed or weakened trees.

The petition claims the woodpecker is at risk of extinction because of a lack of burned forests in the state, the result of a century of fire suppression and, more recently, salvage logging.

In its Moonlight case, EEI claimed the black-backed woodpecker was one of the species the Forest Service did not adequately consider in its environmental analysis. Both Damrell and the 9th Circuit found that the agency had. … [more]



web site

leave a comment

  • For the benefit of the interested general public, W.I.S.E. herein presents news clippings from other media outlets. Please be advised: a posting here does not necessarily constitute or imply W.I.S.E. agreement with or endorsement of any of the content or sources.
  • Colloquia

  • Commentary and News

  • Contact

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Recent News Clippings

  • Recent Comments

  • Meta