|Posted by nationalforestlawblog at 08:13 PM on May 12, 2009|
Wisconsin - It's looking like the New England Patriots of 2005 here in Wisconsin. The Forest Service has won the Fishel case on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Federal Magistrate Judge Aaron Goodstein today granted the Forest Service's motion for summary judgment. This marks yet another consecutive loss for the Habitat Education Center and Howard Lerner's Environmental Law and Policy Center.
The Fishel project encompasses approximately 85,000 acres, including 185 miles of road construction and 5,517 acres of new logging. The plaintiffs had appealed the project administratively, but the Forest Service rejected their appeal because they had failed to offer comments during the administrative commenting period. The plaintiffs tried to claim that they had not been mailed the Notice of Availability for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the project. However, all the evidence showed that the plaintiffs were on the list and did receive the notice. As such, the court threw out the case for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. You can view the full text opinion here or by going to the Featured Cases page.
P.S. You would think that such an oversight would have ELPC on their toes. Nope. On another important project involving aspen regeneration, called Medford Aspen, ELPC forgot to file their appeal before the due date.