EPIC and American Lands v. USFS (Fire Management Plan)
Case Number: C 02 2708 JCS
Fire suppression and “fuel load reduction” activities are being used on a widespread basis throughout the West. While fire safety is important, the protection of public trust resources is not being effectively considered in this process. The Forest Service is using herbicides, clearing large areas of land and conducting other activities that have serious implications to water quality and wildlife without assessing or mitigating potential impacts.
In June 2002, EPIC filed a lawsuit to compel the Forest Service to evaluate the impacts from fire suppression activities, develop environmentally-friendly alternatives and increase the protection of roadless areas and other wildlands. On September 8, 2003, EPIC received a ruling in our favor in the case, with the judge ruling that the FMP requires public review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), as we argued. USFS tried again to issue an FMP. This time they did the FMP in pieces to avoid complying with NEPA. The court rejected the piecemeal FMP and required compliance. Forest Service mooted the case by withdrawing the FMP. The agency has since withdrawn FMPs for Sequoia National Forest and four New Mexico forests following similarly successful suits. EPIC and American Lands were represented in this case by Debbie Sevas and Michael Lozeau from Earthjustice Legal Defense at Stanford University.