U.S. Forest Service Planning Rule Lawsuit


In August of 2012, the BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC) and the California Association of 4Wheel Drive Clubs (Cal 4 Wheel) joined forces with the other forest product and multiple use groups in filing a lawsuit to require the Forest Service to modify its new planning rule to avoid the devastating impact that this rule would have on the health of National Forests, recreational uses of the forests and the economies of communities located near such forests.

The U.S. Forest Service formally adopted new National Forest Planning rules on April 9, 2012. The new regulations shift the agency away from a jobs and ecosystem approach. Instead, the planning rule would cement the National Forests into endless litigation over single species management; an approach that even the agency admits has failed repeatedly in the last three decades.

The complaint takes the Forest Service to task for elevating species viability, ecological sustainability, and ecosystem services as mandatory national forest management objectives, above the five statutorily prescribed multiple uses: outdoor recreation, range, timber, watershed, and wildlife and fish purposes. It also admonishes the Forest Service for requiring recreational opportunities to fit the agency’s definition of “sustainable” in order to be allowed on national forest lands.

Current Status

This case challenges the Forest Service Planning Rule, which imposed substantial and unsupported changes to the structure used to create and revise Forest Plans, which serve as “zoning maps” for entire Forests. BRC, along with its longtime partner Cal4WD, are plaintiffs joining an impressive team of multiple use interests including the Federal Forest Resource Coalition, American Forest Resource Council, Public Lands Council, and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. The complaint was filed in August, 2012 in the U.S. District of Columbia. Cross motions for summary judgment were argued in the case in April, 2014, and remain under advisement.

View the full news release on the lawsuit here:

BRC Public Lands Page On USFS Planning Rule:

The USFS Planning Rule Website.

Parties in the lawsuit include: The Federal Forest Resource Coalition, Alaska Forestry Association, American Forest Resource Coalition, American Sheep Industry Association, California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs, California Forestry Association, Minnesota Forest Industries, Minnesota Timber Producers Council, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Public Lands Council, and Resource Development Council for Alaska.


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