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Civil Suit Brought Against USFS in Biscuit Fire

by Chuck Mansfield (CJ-59) |

A civil suit was filed recently in the United States District Court in Portland Oregon by the Rough and Ready Lumber Company, the American Forest Resource Council, other businesses and private citizens.

The First Claim is made under the National Forest Management Act (NFMA).

This claim includes:
Count 1 Failure to Reforest Suitable Forestland;
Count 2 Failure to Reforest Unsuitable Forestland;
Count 3 Failure to Justify Reduction in Forest Diversity and the Type Conversion to Permanent Brush Fields;
Count 4 Failure to Prevent Permanent Impairment of Productivity of the Land and to Minimize Long Lasting Hazards from Wildfire;
Count 5 Failure to Implement Fire Management Plans in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area;
Count 6 The Forest Service Support for Consideration of Wilderness in the ROD (Record of Decision) is inconsistent with the Siskiyou Forest Plan.

The Second Claim is made under the Organic Act of 1897.

This act requires that "The Secretary of Agriculture shall make provisions for the protection against destruction by fire and depredations upon the public forest and national forests.

The Third Claim is made under NEPA.

This claim includes:
Count 1 Inadequate Range of Alternatives (under the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS));
Count 2 The No Action Alternative is Misleading (The EIS must contain an analysis of the results of no action and compare that to the results that would be expected if action takes place;
Count 3 The Referred Alternative (in the ROD) Fails to Meet the Purpose and Need of the Project (the project is Biscuit Fire Recovery Project);
Count 4 The forest Service has Failed to Ensure the Integrity of the Analysis in the EIS;
Count 5 the forest Service Failed to Inform the Public of the Wilderness Proposal in the Draft EIS;
Count 6 The Forest Service has Failed to Adopt its Reforestation for Wilderness Areas through NEPA.

The Fourth Claim is made under the Oregon Wilderness Act of 1984. The claim is essentially that the Forest Service has failed to follow the Oregon Wilderness Act forest management regulations.

The Fifth Claim is made that the Forest Service failure to comply with the NFMA, Organic Act, NEPA and the Oregon Wilderness act is arbitrary, capricious and an abuse of discretion.

The claimants ask that the court:
A. Declare that the Forest Service has violated the various acts.
B. Enter an order compelling the defendants to treat acres that are designated suitable for timber production in the Rogue and Siskiyou Forest Plans in a way that will restore and maintain their forest cover.
C. Enter and order compelling the defendants to treat and reforest lands unsuitable for timber production to restore forest cover to provide watershed and wildlife benefits.
D. Enjoin the defendants from making any Wilderness recommendation supporting any Wilderness proposal until the environmental effects are considered in a revision to the Siskiyou Forest Plan.
E. Award plaintiffs their attorney fees and costs.
F. Grant plaintiffs any further relief that the Court deems just and equitable.

Note: The Rough and Ready Lumber Company runs the sawmill across the highway from the old Siskiyou Smokejumper Base

Disclaimer: This is an abbreviation of a much longer document by C. Mansfield (CJ-59)