On September 11, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request to reverse its decision on the Mission Brush case (Lands Council v McNair). The plaintiffs had asked for a full court review of the decision, following the court’s unanimous en banc ruling by 11 judges. The court
denied their request because not a single judge voted in favor of a review. The en banc decision
is significant not only because the court reversed its own earlier rulings, but established a limited
judicial framework for review of agency decisions. It also dictates that substantial deference be
given to the Forest Service’s own decision making process; clarifies that NFMA contain no
requirement for on the ground analysis; and recognizes that the Forest Service must balance
competing demands in managing the national forests, so that wildlife viability is not the only
In deciding whether to grant a request for an injunction, judges must now balance
harm to the environment against other harms, such as wildfire or economic losses.
On August 22, Joel Holtrop, National Forest Deputy Chief for National Forest System, issued a
memo to Regional Foresters and other personnel noting the decision will enable the agency to
more effectively manage our national forests and grasslands. /Ann Forest Burns
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