Californians for Native Salmon and Steelhead Association, et al. v. California Department of Forestry (Pattern and Practice)

Californians for Native Salmon and Steelhead Association, et al. v. California Department of Forestry (Pattern and Practice)

1988

EPIC sought a judicial declaration that the California Department of Forestry’s continuing practice of failing to analyze and mitigate cumulative impacts and of failing to respond to public comments constituted an agency policy. This litigation resulted in a published appellate opinion that established a “pattern and practice cause of action.” A settlement instituted cumulative impact rules and practices, as well as a rule change requiring agency response to public comments by the THP approval date. The challenge referenced 65 separate THPs approved by CDF. The original challenge was to an Eel River Sawmills plan to clear cut 76 acres of old-growth and second-growth in the Mattole River watershed at Baker Creek. The suit was brought by EPIC, Californians for Native Salmon and Steelhead Association, and Fred “Coyote” Downey, a Native American of the Wailaki People, against CDF, Len Theiss as CDF Resource Manager, Jerry Partain as Director of CDF, the State Board of Forestry, and the Secretary of the California Resources Agency.

Procedure: 1-88-520 HUM/MEN approved 10/25/88 despite Department of Fish and Game nonconcurrence. Petition for Writ filed 11/15/88 in California Superior Court (Humboldt #83329, Judge McFarland). 65 additional THPs were then incorporated into the suit. The timber company canceled THP 1-88-520 and was dismissed from the action. The state agency demurred on the grounds that the suit was moot. Demurrer and dismissal granted by visiting Judge Langhauser 4/28/89. Dismissal reversed on appeal 6/5/90 on grounds that EPIC had stated a valid cause of action (A046232) against the agency. Supreme Court denied review 9/19/90. Appellate decision published at 221 Cal.App.3d 1419. Settlement included an award of attorneys’ fees.

Status: final – 1993 Settlement. Same THP resubmitted as 1-89-230 HUM/MEN.

Attorneys: Sharon Duggan, Joseph Cotchett, Michael Remy, John Fitzgerald

EPIC Contacts: Cecelia Lanman, Charles Powell