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Court Grants Preliminary Injunction To Stop California Roadside Clearing Project

Posted by nationalforestlawblog on March 10, 2011 at 9:33 AM

Los Padres ForestWatch v. USFS, 10-CV-03653-LHK (N.D.Cal. March 4, 2011)

U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh granted Los Padres Forestwatch's for a preliminary injunction to protect imperiled species on the remaining 600 miles of a $1 million roadside-clearing project in Central California's Los Padres National Forest. 

The Court found that the:

“First Plaintiff has demonstrated procedural injury stemming from Defendants’ failure to solicit any public or interagency comment prior to approving the Project. Defendants’ failure to conduct an adequate scoping process deprived Plaintiff and the public “of the opportunity to participate in the NEPA process at a time when such participation is required and is calculated to matter.” See SaveStrawberry Canyon v. Dept. of Energy, 613 F. Supp. 2d 1177, 1187 (N.D. Cal. 2009) (due to alleged NEPA violations involving failure to conduct environmental review, plaintiff was “virtually certain to suffer irreparable procedural injury absent an injunction”;)

“And second, as the Forest Service’s own biologists noted, the Project potentially threatens certain critical habitat and species. The Forest Service’s agreement to accept certain “interim conditions” as a result of this litigation does not remedy the harm, especially since those “interim conditions” do not apply to the remaining portion of the Project. And second, as the Forest Service’s own biologists noted, the Project potentially threatens certain critical habitat and species. The Forest Service’s agreement to accept certain “interim conditions” as a result of this litigation does not remedy the harm, especially since those “interim conditions” do not apply to the remaining portion of the Project.”

However, instead of stopping the project altogether, the Court ordered the Forest Service to follow certain interim measures while the project and the litigation continued.

“These interim measures include: (1) use of an on-site biologist prior to clearing sensitive areas and critical habitats; (2) prohibition on clearing vegetation in certain riparian and wetland areas; (3) prohibition on clearing in certain areas of the forest (i.e., near seacliff buckwheat areas where Smith’s Blue Butterfly inhabit); (4) prohibition on clearing in certain locations during nesting and breeding seasons of certain species; and (5) weekly progress reports to Plaintiff.”

You can access the full text opinion here.

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1 Comment

Reply InceseSnobe
11:54 AM on July 06, 2011 
Pleasant Post. This enter helped me in my college assignment. Thnaks Alot