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Idaho Wool Growers Association v. Vilsack

United States District Court, D. Idaho

March 25, 2014

IDAHO WOOL GROWERS ASSOCIATION; AMERICAN SHEEP INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION; PUBLIC LANDS COUNCIL; WYOMING WOOL GROWERS ASSOCIATION; CARLSON COMPANY, INC.; SHIRTS BROTHERS SHEEP; and COLORADO WOOL GROWERS ASSOCIATION, Plaintiffs,
v.
TOM VILSACK, in his official capacity as Secretary of Agriculture; TOM TIDWELL, in his official capacity as the United States Forest Service Chief; KEITH LANNOM, in his official capacity as the Payette National Forest Forest Supervisor; and UNITED STATES FOREST SERVICE, Defendants, THE WILDERNESS SOCIETY; WESTERN WATERSHEDS PROJECT; and HELLS CANYON PRESERVATION COUNCIL, Intervenors - Defendants

Page 1086

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 1087

For Idaho Wool Growers Association, American Sheep Industry Association, Public Lands Council, Wyoming Wool Growers Association, Carlson Company, Inc., Shirts Brothers Sheep, Colorado Wool Growers Association, Plaintiffs: Murray D Feldman, William Gerry Myers, III, LEAD ATTORNEYS, HOLLAND & HART, Boise, ID.

For Tom Vilsack, in his official capacity as the Secretary of the U S Department of Agriculture, Tom Tidwell, in his official capacity as the Chief of the U S Forest Service, Keith Lannom, in his official capacity as the Forest Supervisor of the Payette National Forest, United States Forest Service, Defendants: David Bernard Glazer, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. Department of Justice, Environment & Natural Resources Division, San Francisco, CA; Joshua David Hurwit, LEAD ATTORNEY, United States Attorney's Office, District of Idaho, Boise, ID.

For The Wilderness Society, Western Watersheds Project, Hells Canyon Preservation Council, Intervenor Defendants: Jennifer R. Schemm, LEAD ATTORNEY, PRO HAC VICE, La Grande, OR; Lauren M Rule, ADVOCATES FOR THE WEST, Boise, ID.

OPINION

Page 1088

A. WALLACE TASHIMA, United States Circuit Judge.

ORDER ON CROSS-MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Now pending before the court are the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment, which have been fully briefed and argued and, on March 17, 2014, taken under submission. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' and Intervenors-Defendants' motions are granted. Plaintiffs' motion is denied.

I. Background

In 2003, Defendants completed a revision of the 1988 Payette National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan. FS005768 [ROD at 1]. The Intermountain Regional Forester received a number of appeals of that revision, asserting that it failed adequately to address the risk of disease transmission between bighorn sheep and domestic sheep, and thus to protect bighorn sheep populations. Id. The Chief of the Forest Service agreed and instructed the Regional Forester to " reanalyze the potential impacts of domestic sheep grazing on bighorn sheep viability." Id.

The 2010 Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS) and Record of Decision (ROD) are the product of that remand. In 2008, the Forest Service released a Draft SEIS that considered the effects on bighorn sheep viability of various wildlife management alternatives. FS017430-575. In 2010, following notice and comment, Defendants released the FSEIS and ROD. FS005762-98 (ROD); FS005028-5761 (FSEIS). Those documents formalized Defendants' decision to adopt an alternative (" Alternative 7O modified" ) that reduces domestic sheep grazing on the Payette National Forest (Payette) by approximately 70%. FS005781 [ROD at 14]. Defendants concluded that it is necessary to limit domestic sheep grazing to protect bighorn sheep against the risk of disease transmission from domestic sheep. FS005777-83 [ROD at 10-16].

Plaintiffs brought suit for declaratory and injunctive relief under the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. § § 4321-4370h, challenging the adequacy of the FSEIS and ROD. Plaintiffs now move for summary ...


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