Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Group sues over herbicide use on federal land

An environmental group claims the federal government should have reduced grazing instead of relying solely on herbicides to battle invasive weeds in an Oregon national forest. The group has asked a federal judge to block a herbicide spraying project on more than 20,000 acres of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, which was finalized by the U.S. Forest Service in 2010. The League of Wilderness Defenders-Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project challenged the project in federal court, claiming it unlawfully failed to analyze the impact of increased herbicide use on fish. The Forest Service counters that the group is overly restrictive in its understanding of regulations aimed at protecting aquatic species. Under the environmental group's interpretation of the rules, the agency would be unable to take on any restoration project with even the slightest effect on fish, said Jason Hill, an attorney for the agency. "Plaintiffs are trying to argue that you should have absolutely zero impact," he said. "It would basically bar the agency from doing anything. You could never get to the point of zero impact." During oral arguments on Jan. 23, the environmentalists requested that U.S. District Judge Michael Simon halt the herbicide project and order the agency to reconsider the plan. The agency should have evaluated ways to deter the spread of invasive weeds, such as excluding livestock from parts of the national forest, said Tom Buchele, an attorney for the group...more

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

While we are at it, let's exclude the wind and birds from the National Forest.