WildEarth Guardians – Conservation organizations WildEarth Guardians and Oregon Wild filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Forest Service’s misuse of an agency regulation to evade its obligation to analyze and disclose the environmental impacts of three projects on the Fremont-Winema National Forest in Oregon. The organizations allege the Forest Service violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when it failed to analyze the impacts of commercial thinning across thousands of acres of national forest.
“The Forest Service is misleading the public as to what these projects entail. Commercial thinning is logging—trees with marketable value are cut and removed from the forest to be sold on the market—which requires heavy equipment and roads that can disturb soils, cause erosion into streams, destroy or degrade habitat, and release stored carbon,” said Chris Krupp of WildEarth Guardians. “Over the past few years the Forest Service has taken to re-labeling logging projects as timber stand or habitat improvement projects with a commercial thinning component, in order to avoid having to analyze, and inform the public about, the impacts of public lands logging that the law requires.”