March 28, 2005

Local and federal natural resource professionals have the right to intervene in an environmental lawsuit over a proposal to triple the annual timber harvest from eleven Sierra Nevada national forests, according to a Jenner & Block Motion to Intervene recently filed on behalf of the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The motion was filed in the case California Forestry Association v. Bosworth, which concerns a 2004 forest management plan for 11.5 million acres of national forests in the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

The Firm’s court action argues that PEER has a legally protected interest in the lawsuit because of its “intensive past and ongoing involvement” in the forests’ research and planning procedures.

According to the motion, an earlier management plan, known as the 2001 Framework, “placed restrictions on the destruction of wildlife, vegetation, and wildlife habits.”  Alternatively, the subsequently adopted 2004 Framework “substantially weakens the protections of the 2001 Framework” and would “cause an increase in logging and destruction of wildlife habitat.”

“Plaintiffs seek to eviscerate the old growth and wildlife habitat protections afforded by the 2001 Framework and the 2004 Framework, and effectively undo years of public education and advocacy by PEER to establish such protections,” wrote Associate Robin M. Meriweather in the motion.

PEER also claimed that, since the existing defendants in the suit adopted the less stringent 2004 Framework, they do not adequately represent the group’s interests.

“The federal defendants’ decision to replace the 2001 Framework in its entirety indicates that they do not share PEER’s interest in the vigorous implementation and enforcement of the 2001 Framework.  [It] is highly probable that the [defendants]…may not even fully defend the remaining protections afforded by the amended plan,” the motion concluded.

PEER is a national non-profit environmental organization dedicated to protecting the interest of State and Federal agency resource professionals in ensuring that natural resources are managed responsibly.

Please click here to view the Motion to Intervene.