Forest Service must reinstate tougher guidelines


U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilkin ruled in favor of a group of 14 environmental organizations that sued the U.S. Forest Service for essentially relaxing regulations in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act and Endangered Species Act.

The decision means the Forest Service will have to reinstate rules protecting fish and wildlife and limiting logging in 150 national forests and 20 national grasslands covering 192 million acres, including more than a dozen national forests in California.

…The lawsuit said the regulations discarded the environmental standards envisioned by the 1976 act in favor of vague guidelines administered by local forest managers with little public oversight.

Judge Wilkin ordered the Forest Service to reinstate regulations from either 1982 or 2000 that had specific protections for fish and wildlife.