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Newton County Wildlife Association v. Rogers

141 F.3d 803 (1998)

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Newton County Wildlife Association v. Rogers

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

141 F.3d 803 (1998)

Facts

In the early 1990s, the United States Forest Service (Forest Service) (defendant) proposed four timber sales in the Buffalo Ranger District in the Ozark National Forest. The timber sales involved timber harvesting on 3,011 acres of forest, reconstruction of a logging road, and the construction of five miles of new road. The Forest Service notified affected and interested members of the public, including Newton County Wildlife Association (Wildlife Association) (plaintiff), and solicited comments on the proposal. After receiving responses, the Forest Service evaluated the environmental impacts of sale alternatives, including an alternative of no action, and developed environmental assessments (EAs) for each site. Effects of the sale on species that inhabited the forest were addressed in biological evaluations. The biological assessments found that there would be no impact on species, including the endangered bald eagle. The EAs were circulated with requests for public comment. In May 1994, the Forest Service issued decision notices for two of the sites. Administrative appeals were filed and rejected, and the sales took place that fall. Construction and logging began in the spring of 1995. The Forest Service issued a decision notice for the other two sites in June and May of 1995. The Wildlife Association filed suit in district court in December 1995 and sought judicial review of the Forest Service’s approval of the four sales, alleging that the Forest Service violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by failing to consult the United States Fish and Wildlife Service before approving the sales. The district court found in favor of the Forest Service, and the Wildlife Association appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Loken, J.)

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