House v. United States Forest Service

974 F. Supp.1022 (1997)

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House v. United States Forest Service

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky
974 F. Supp.1022 (1997)

Facts

The United States Forest Service (defendant) planned to conduct a logging operation in the Leatherwood Fork area in eastern Kentucky, where the Indiana bat, an endangered species, lived. The United States Forest Service planned to leave several trees of various types and sizes in several locations for Indiana bats. An environmental analysis and a biological evaluation were conducted, and the United States Forest Service determined its logging plan was not likely to adversely affect Indiana bats. After formal consultation, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service concurred, and notice of the logging plan was published for public comment. In the plan, the United States Forest Service stated that it would avoid all adverse impacts to federally listed species, except if it could compensate for those adverse impacts. Bob House, Chris Schimmoeller, and Kentucky Heartwood, Inc. (collectively, the conservationists) (plaintiffs) submitted comments objecting to the United States Forest Service’s plan and subsequently filed an administrative appeal, which was rejected by the regional forester. The conservationists sought judicial review of the plan, claiming that the United States Forest Service had failed to comply with the Endangered Species Act because the plan did not prioritize conservation of the Indiana bat. The conservationists and the United States Forest Service filed cross-motions for summary judgment.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Forester, J.)

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