What Part of “Fire!!!” Is An Emergency Didn’t I Understand?
Apparently all of it. In an unpublished (i.e., non-precedential) memorandum, the Ninth Circuit affirmed a lower court’s decision that forest fires are emergencies within the meaning of a Forest Service regulation that exempts actions taken in response from NEPA. Plaintiff’s argument that the adjacent National Park Service doesn’t agree and had prepared an EA assessing its future fire response actions was “immaterial.”
Perhaps, someday, the Forest Service will use NEPA to engage the public in planning its response actions to fire. In the meantime, quoting an earlier district court case, “[a]t least in the context of wildland fire suppression, NEPA review can not possibly be conducted at the site-specific level because of the emergency conditions in which the fire occurs, and to allow the agency to conduct site-specific NEPA review after the fire has already been extinguished is contrary to the purposes of NEPA.” California ex rel. Lockyer v. United States Forest Serv., 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14357, *35, 60 ERC (BNA) 2104.
via A New Century of Forest Planning https://ift.tt/YeNBM9