Thursday, January 11, 2007

Some really good news from the Supreme Court--of all places!

The Supreme Court has declined to hear a case concerning the National Forest Management Act. The case, Ecology Center v. Austin (.pdf), set a new standard of environmental review for logging projects on national forest land, and all but turned the tables on the Forest Service's current conception of the NFMA as a dead law that has no meaning. The case concerned logging on the Lolo National Forest in Montana and concluded that the NFMA statute requires a high level of protection of soil quality, water quality, and wildlife habitat on national forest lands.

The decision not to review the case is found in this document (.pdf) which is found on this page on the U.S. Supreme Court website.

I predict that this piece of news will probably be the best thing that happens to National Forests in 2007. It's that good. Congratulations to the Ecology Center and its attorneys for obtaining this landmark lawsuit and for holding it down in the face of a tremendous challenge. The Supremes would have likely really screwed it up, and turned NFMA once and for all into a dead, meaningless law like the Multiple-Use, Sustained Yield Act, which carries virtually no legal weight any more despite its lofty language and goals.

1 comment:

pi said...

you mean like they did to NEPA? A law prof of mine observed once that the Supes have taken NEPA on a dozen times, and gotten it wrong in 12 of those cases.

If there's hope, it sure isn't before that bench. No matter what happens to the Worst Administration ever, we have to have something more than a legal strategy to make real progress.