Court supports Goose lawsuit
Judge Aiken concluded today (3/26/13) that although the Environmental Analysis was adequate an Environmental Impact Statement will be necessary. The Forest Service is enjoined from going forward with the Goose Project until an EIS has been prepared. The public will have a chance to comment on a draft EIS. From the court’s order: … when considered individually, none of these significance factors might require an EIS. However, when considered collectively, they do. The Project authorizes logging that would reduce the Lookout Mountain [potential wilderness area] PWA by 1,249 acres and includes the construction of a permanent road, both of which may significantly affect the unique attributes of the PWA. There is uncertainty surrounding the effects of the downgrade and removal of 454 acres of spotted owl habitat authorized by the Project. There is a dispute regarding the efficacy of thinning within Riparian Reserves to achieve [aquatic conservation strategy] ACS Objectives. The Project will likely have an adverse effect on a threatened species and its habitat, even though it is not likely to threaten the continued existence of the species. Finally, the Project may actually prevent the recruitment of coarse woody debris, running counter to the [northwest forest plan's] NFP's ACS Objective 8. When viewed together, this Court is compelled to find that these "significance" factors raise a substantial question as to whether the Goose Project may significantly affect the environment. Accordingly, NEPA requires that the Forest Service prepare an EIS.