EPIC in Court: Timber Industry Appeals Seiad-Horse Timber Sale to Ninth Circuit

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Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

Attorney Brodia Minter of KS Wild assesses damage from the Seiad-Horse Project.

EPIC’s successful lawsuit against the Seiad-Horse Timber Sale is headed to the Ninth Circuit. The Seiad-Horse Timber Sale was the Klamath National Forest’s latest attempt to log fragile post-fire forests. To fast track logging, the Klamath National Forest avoided completion of an Environmental Impact Statement, a requirement for projects like this timber sale that present potentially significant environmental impacts.

To stop this illegal timber sale, EPIC filed a lawsuit against the Klamath National Forest and sought a court order to stop most of the project’s activities. The American Forest Resource Council, an industry trade organization representing timber companies, intervened in the lawsuit to defend the Forest Service’s decision. Before the Eastern District Court of California, EPIC won in a sweeping decision that used the Klamath National Forest’s own admissions against them.

Now the timber industry is appealing their loss to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that the District Court judge erred in his decision. So EPIC is gearing back up for another round in this litigation.

The timber industry’s plan is likely to backfire. Courts are bound by precedent. For example, all District Courts within the Ninth Circuit are bound by the Ninth Circuit’s previous decisions—from Alaska to California. When EPIC wins before the Ninth Circuit—and we feel confident that we will win, as the Seiad-Horse Timber Sale was blatantly illegal—we will set precedent that will make it more difficult for the government to give illegal sweetheart deals to the timber industry. This is BIG.

A special thanks to our co-plaintiffs, the Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Center and the Klamath Forest Alliance, and to our attorney, Susan Jane Brown of the Western Environmental Law Center, all of whom are dogged in their defense of our bioregion.