Protecting endangered species and wild places through
science, policy, education, and environmental law.

March 29, 2005


The Center for Biological Diversity, joining other plaintiffs from Appalachia to the Puget Sound, has filed a lawsuit challenging the Bush Administration's new regulations that govern how logging, mining, and grazing will occur on the 192 million acres of National Forests that stretch across 42 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The regulations detail how the Forest Service will implement the National Forest Management Act, a law that has been the foundation of forest planning since the mid 1970's.

"This new regulation represents the single most sweeping setback for scientifically-based forest management that we have seen since the National Forest Management Act was enacted over twenty or thirty years ago"says Erik Ryberg, a National Forest analyst at the Center for Biological Diversity's Tucson office. " The Bush Administration has swept aside everything we know about forest ecology and has made short-term profit the guiding principle of forest management."

The new regulation also effectively removes forest planning decisions from judicial review by granting unlimited discretion to local forest rangers to make forest management decisions. The administration itself calls the new regulation "a paradigm shift in land management planning" because the regulation eliminates former requirements to protect wildlife, water quality, and soil productivity, along with the requirement to use the "best available science" when making forest management decisions. The new regulation relies wholly on the judgment of individual forest managers to make forest planning decisions, and does not require those managers to meet traditional requirements for wildlife protection.

"This new regulation is an explicit rejection of the notion that science should play a role in forest management," Ryberg said. "It's a rejection of the idea that the needs of wildlife, clean water, and endangered species should be given higher consideration in our National Forests than short-term economic gain. We fear this may signal an irreversible step for animals that need large trees and old-growth forests."

Marc Fink of The Western Environmental Law Center represents the organizations, with Brent Plater at the Center for Biological Diversity's San Francisco Office as attorney of record.

For more information contact Erik Ryberg, Southwest Forest Advocate, Center for Biological Diversity, (520) 623-5252, ext. 308


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