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Oregon Natural Resources Council v. Lyng

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
882 F.2d 1417 (1989)


Facts

The Hells Canyon National Recreation Area Act (Act) required the U.S. secretary of agriculture (secretary) to develop a comprehensive management plan (CMP) for the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area (recreation area), located in Oregon and Idaho. The Act’s purpose was to ensure the preservation of the recreation area. The first sentence of § 10 of the Act, 16 U.S.C. § 460gg-7, required the secretary to promulgate regulations “as he deems necessary.” The second sentence of § 10 required the secretary to promulgate the types of regulations specified in subsections 10(a) through 10(e). The United States Forest Service (USFS) (defendant) proposed to sell timber within the recreation area. Oregon Natural Resources Council and other environmental groups (plaintiffs) sued the USFS in district court, seeking to enjoin the timber sales. The plaintiffs claimed that (1) section 8(f) of the Act limited timber harvesting to areas where harvesting had occurred at the time of the Act’s enactment, and (2) section 10 of the Act required the secretary to promulgate regulations prior to authorizing timber harvesting in the recreation area. The district court barred the plaintiffs’ § 8(f) claim on the basis of laches and the failure to exhaust administrative remedies, and also found in favor of the USFS on the § 10 claim. The plaintiffs appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Trott, J.)

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