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The Lands Council v. McNair

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
537 F.3d 981 (2008)


Facts

The Lands Council (Council) (plaintiff) sued the United States Forest Service (USFS) (defendant), claiming that the USFS had violated the National Forest Management Act (NFMA), 16 U.S.C. §§ 1600 et seq., by failing to use on-the-ground analysis to analyze the effects of a proposed project on the flammulated owl and its habitat. The Council cited Ecology Center, Inc. v. Austin, 430 F.3d 1057 (9th Cir. 2005), which held that the NFMA required the USFS to conduct on-the-ground analysis of the effects of logging on old-growth forest and post-fire habitats. The holding of Ecology Center was based on Lands Council v. Powell (Lands Council I), 379 F.3d 738, which found that the USFS had violated the NFMA by approving a timber harvest based on spreadsheet models regarding soil quality rather than on-site spot verification of soil quality. The Council moved for a preliminary injunction. The district court denied the motion, and the Council appealed. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reviewed the case to determine whether to uphold Ecology Center.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Smith, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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