West Fork Blacks Fork
In November 2006 we joined with Dr. John Carter of Western Watersheds Project, Jim Catlin, Wild Utah Project, and Kirk Robinson, Western Wildlife Conservancy, in appealing the West Fork Blacks Fork grazing decision (for the most recent discussion, see HUPC LYNX 10/05, although we have written about this issue nearly a dozen times since 1998). The appeal, primarily authored by John Carter and the Western Watershed Project, was a powerful 45 page document and we were honored to be part of it.
It was rather summarily dismissed by the Forest Service, something we expected, but, ironically, the appeal deciding officer wrote, “I am reversing the decision by…Forest Supervisor Faye Krueger because the project record does not document that consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been completed...”
This was, of course, an issue raised in the appeal. The irony escapes nobody. The substantive issues were dismissed based on procedural issues—they were addressed in the analysis but the accuracy of the analysis was not considered. A procedural issue resulted in the decision being reversed. Reversed to what, you might ask? Well, the irony, again, escapes nobody as the reversal takes us, in essence, back to nearly the identical decision being proposed in the very document that was appealed. The decision in the EIS that was appealed was basically the decision the Forest Service had administratively engaged during the nearly decade long process to prepare the EIS.
Roadless Petition Withdrawn
On the other hand, Governor Huntsman should be proud of his decision to withdraw the state’s proposed anti-roadless petition (see HUPC LYNX September-December 2007.) He noted that, while it still may be re-considered and re-filed, for the time being it is on the shelf with a commitment to engage all stakeholders (that is what we are nowadays) if it is reconsidered!