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The Lands Council v. McNair, No. 09-36026

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By FindLaw Staff on December 29, 2010 7:46 PM

Environmental Challenge to Old-Growth Forest Thinning

In The Lands Council v. McNair, No. 09-36026, an action challenging the United States Forest Service's (Forest Service) decision to thin 277 acres of old-growth forest in the Mission Brush Project area, located in the Idaho Panhandle National Forest (IPNF), claiming that the Project violated the National Forest Management Act (NFMA), and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the court affirmed summary judgment for defendants where 1) the Forest Service reasonably relied on the 10%-old-growth standard as set forth in the IPNF Plan; and 2) it was within the Forest Service's discretion to rely on its own data and to discount the alternative evidence proffered by petitioner.

As the court wrote:  "The Lands Council and Wild West Institute challenged the United States Forest Service's (Forest Service) decision to thin 277 acres of old-growth forest in the Mission Brush Project (Project) area, located in the Idaho Panhandle National Forest (IPNF), claiming that the Project violates the National Forest Management Act (NFMA), 16 U .S.C. § 1600 et seq., the IPNF Plan, and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. § 4231 et seq."

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