Forest Service Admits Fire Retardant Use Violates Clean Water Act
Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics
by Joe Stone
3w ago
The preliminary response to FSEEE’s fire retardant lawsuit acknowledges that the Forest Service is acting illegally but then “denies each and every allegation of the [FSEEE] Complaint.” The FSEEE lawsuit alleges illegal discharge of aerial fire retardant into Waters of the U.S. in violation of the Clean Water Act. The Forest Service response, filed by the U.S. Justice Department, admits: “The Forest Service has discharged aerial fire retardant into navigable waters … without a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit.” The Forest Service and its cooperators have discharged, and ..read more
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Collaboratives are a Failed Experiment
Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics
by Joe Stone
1M ago
It is no coincidence that the rise of collaborative groups described in Christopher Ketcham’s guest essay (Forest News Fall Edition) followed the demise of the Forest Service’s logging-at-all-costs era. With visions of warring parties sitting around a fuels treatment singing Forest Service “Kumbaya” verses, the agency blandished potential collaborators with grant monies and the promise of access to its decision-making backroom, which only its traditional customers (ranchers, loggers, miners) had enjoyed previously. Collaborative groups grew like invasive weeds. The Forest Service deftly side-s ..read more
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Excerpted from ‘This Land’
Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics
by Joe Stone
1M ago
When Congress passed the 2009 Omnibus Public Land Management Act, one of Barack Obama’s major public lands initiatives, it included a provision for a new program of management of national forests that promised “collaborative, science-based ecosystem restoration” of what were deemed “priority forest landscapes.” In a speech announcing the founding of the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP), which was funded at $40 million annually through 2019, Tom Vilsack, Obama’s secretary of agriculture, warned that “the effects of our changing climate have resulted in an increasing nu ..read more
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The Peshtigo Firestorm
Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics
by Joe Stone
1M ago
On the night of October 8, 1871, in Peshtigo, Wisconsin, “all hell rode into town on the back of a wind.” In two hours, the Peshtigo Fire decimated a swath of forest 10 miles wide by 40 miles long and obliterated the towns of Peshtigo and Brussels in northeastern Wisconsin. According to the Peshtigo Fire Museum, the conflagration ultimately burned 1.3 million acres, destroyed 17 towns, and killed as many as 2,500 people. In spite of uncertainty about the exact number of lives lost in the fire, it remains the deadliest fire in U.S. history. Before settlers arrived, the entire northern half of W ..read more
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Mining Proposal Threatens Okefenokee
Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics
by Joe Stone
1M ago
If approved, a proposal to mine titanium and zirconium in southern Georgia will threaten the integrity of the Okefenokee Swamp, designated a Wetland of International Importance through the Ramsar Convention. Ninety percent of the massive wetland lies within the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, which encompasses 353,981 acres of designated wilderness. The Osceola National Forest guards the southern flank of this invaluable ecosystem at the Florida state line. Combined, these federal lands protect 600,000 acres of wetland forests that are home to multiple endangered species. Alabama-based Tw ..read more
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Oregon High Court Rejects Timber Lawsuit
Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics
by Joe Stone
2M ago
The Oregon Supreme Court rejected an appeal in a $1 billion lawsuit that sought to define the “greatest permanent value” of forests as timber revenue. The 13 counties that brought the lawsuit gave forestland to the state in the 1930s and ’40s. Oregon manages the land and funnels timber revenue to the counties. The counties alleged that the state was not maximizing logging. A jury decided in favor of the counties in 2019 and awarded more than $1 billion in damages, but an appeals court struck down that verdict. By leaving the appeals court ruling in place, the Oregon Supreme Court ends a six-ye ..read more
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Forest Service Completes Prescribed Fire Review
Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics
by Joe Stone
2M ago
After the Forest Service ignited a prescribed fire that became the largest wildfire in New Mexico history, Chief Randy Moore ordered a national review of the agency’s prescribed fire program. Published this fall, the review identifies 52 recommendations. Seven recommendations are for immediate implementation — mostly bureaucratic requirements for additional approvals, more oversight, and increased internal communication. The review calls for nine recommendations to be implemented within six months and the remaining recommendations to be implemented in the longer term. Among the recommendations ..read more
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Jet Fuel From Wood
Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics
by Joe Stone
2M ago
Writing for Greenwire, Marc Heller reports that Enviva, the world’s largest wood pellet producer, has inked a deal to turn forest products into aviation fuel. The deal will send up to 750,000 metric tons of “forest thinnings” to a new production facility to be built by Alder Fuels. The two companies claim their process could eventually supply 37 million gallons of jet fuel per year. Supporters of intensive forest management contend the new use for low-value biomass will make forest thinning more cost-effective. They also cite studies suggesting biomass-based aviation fuel will significantly re ..read more
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Phos-Chek in Sespe Creek Draws Attention to FSEEE Lawsuit
Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics
by Joe Stone
2M ago
Alex Wilson, reporting for VC Reporter, recently covered our lawsuit against the Forest Service challenging its use of aerial fire retardant. He writes, “When environmental activist Andy Stahl heard that last month’s battle to extinguish the Howard Fire in the rugged mountains north of Ojai resulted in an airplane dropping fire retardant into Sespe Creek, he knew the incident would figure into a lawsuit he was already preparing to file against the U.S. Forest Service.” Andy told Wilson, “That’s a Wild and Scenic river in the middle of a wilderness area and critical habitat for endangered speci ..read more
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‘Phos-Chek in Sespe Creek Spurs Lawsuit’
Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics
by Joe Stone
2M ago
Alex Wilson, reporting for VC Reporter, recently covered our lawsuit against the Forest Service challenging its use of aerial fire retardant. He writes, “When environmental activist Andy Stahl heard that last month’s battle to extinguish the Howard Fire in the rugged mountains north of Ojai resulted in an airplane dropping fire retardant into Sespe Creek, he knew the incident would figure into a lawsuit he was already preparing to file against the U.S. Forest Service.” Andy told Wilson, “That’s a Wild and Scenic river in the middle of a wilderness area and critical habitat for endangered speci ..read more
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