Motorized recreation groups sued the federal government to modify the Forest Service’s new forest planning regulations.
Boise attorney Paul Turcke, is representing the BlueRibbon Coalition and the California Association of 4Wheel Drive Clubs who joined forces with other forest product and multiple use groups in filing the lawsuit. You might remember that environmental groups have repeatedly sued the agency’s past attempt to update the rules written in the 1980s.
This lawsuit says the new rules will have “devastating impacts on the health of National Forests, recreational uses of the forests and communities located nearby.”
The U.S. Forest Service formally adopted rules on April 9, with its leaders saying they will encourage forest restoration and collaboration between the timber industry, local communities, recreation groups and environmentalists.
But the groups bringing the lawsuit say the new regulations shift the agency away from a jobs and ecosystem approach. They say the new rules would keep the National Forests in endless litigation over single species management. They oppose elevating species viability, ecological sustainability, and ecosystem services into mandatory national forest management objectives.
They argue it places these values above above the five statutorily prescribed multiple uses: outdoor recreation, range, timber, watershed, and wildlife and fish purposes. They also oppose requiring recreational opportunities to fit the agency's definition of sustainable in order to be allowed on national forest lands.
"The new planning rules are actually more complex, costly, and procedurally burdensome than the regulations they replace,” said Greg Mumm, executive director of the Pocatello-based Blue Ribbon Coalition. “The agency has utterly failed to meet the guidelines of President Obama's directive calling for regulations to be cost effective, less burdensome, and more flexible.”