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Sierra Club v. Salazar Lawsuit

Sierra Club v. Salazar Lawsuit

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Published by Allison Thomasseau

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Published by: Allison Thomasseau on Aug 08, 2012
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 COMPLAINT - 112345678910111213141516171819202122232425
Washington Forest Law Center615 Second Avenue, Suite 360Seattle, WA 98104(206) 223-4088
PAUL KAMPMEIER, WSBA # 31560WYATT GOLDING, WSBA # 44412Washington Forest Law Center615 Second Avenue, Suite 360Seattle, Washington 98104(206) 223-4088Attorneys for PlaintiffsUNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTWESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTONSIERRA CLUB, a California non-profitcorporation; and OLYMPIC FORESTCOALITION, a Washington non-profit corporation,Plaintiffs,v.KEN SALAZAR, Secretary of the Department of the Interior; and DAN ASHE, Director of the U. S.Fish and Wildlife Service,Defendants.))))))))))))))Civ. No.COMPLAINT FORDECLARATORY ANDINJUNCTIVE RELIEF
I. INTRODUCTION
1. This is an action against the Secretary of the Department of the Interior and theDirector of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (collectively “the Service”), in their officialcapacities. Plaintiffs allege that the Service violated the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C.§ 701
et seq.
(“APA”), the Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. § 1531
et seq.
(“ESA”), and theNational Environmental Policy Act, 42 U.S.C. § 4321
et seq
. (“NEPA”), by authorizing theWashington Department of Natural Resources to log more than 12,000 acres of protectedmarbled murrelet habitat without notifying the public, accepting public comment, or conductingenvironmental review of the proposed logging.
Case 3:12-cv-05669 Document 1 Filed 07/27/12 Page 1 of 24
 
 COMPLAINT - 212345678910111213141516171819202122232425
Washington Forest Law Center615 Second Avenue, Suite 360Seattle, WA 98104(206) 223-4088
2. Marbled murrelets are dove-sized black and white birds that are in the samefamily as puffins. Marbled murrelets are unique among seabirds because they live and forage onPuget Sound and the Pacific Ocean but nest in older-growth forest stands. Pursuant to section 4of the Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. § 1533, the Service listed marbled murrelets as athreatened species in 1992. Since 2001, populations of marbled murrelets in Washington havebeen declining at a rate of over 7% per year. At that rate of decline marbled murrelets could beextirpated from Washington in 60-70 years.3. Because logging operations can injure or kill marbled murrelets, something theEndangered Species Act prohibits, the Washington Department of Natural Resources (“DNR”)developed and obtained federal approval for a habitat conservation plan.
See
16 U.S.C. §1539(a). The Washington Department of Natural Resources Trust Lands Habitat ConservationPlan (“the HCP”) is a comprehensive forest management plan that includes managementstrategies for both aquatic and terrestrial species affected by logging. For marbled murrelets, theHCP includes an interim conservation strategy that is supposed to conclude with the adoption of long-term marbled murrelet conservation strategies. As adopted in 1997, DNR’s interimmarbled murrelet strategy strictly prohibited DNR from logging “higher quality” marbledmurrelet habitat in Southwest Washington until DNR developed the long-term marbled murreletconservation strategies required by the HCP. The Service approved the HCP in 1997, therebyauthorizing the “incidental take” of marbled murrelets that results from DNR logging inaccordance with the interim strategy. 4. DNR has not adopted the long-term marbled murrelet conservation strategiesrequired by the HCP. Notwithstanding that fact, on May 29, 2012, the Service approved anamendment to the HCP and authorized DNR to log approximately 12,000 acres of “higher
Case 3:12-cv-05669 Document 1 Filed 07/27/12 Page 2 of 24
 
 COMPLAINT - 312345678910111213141516171819202122232425
Washington Forest Law Center615 Second Avenue, Suite 360Seattle, WA 98104(206) 223-4088
quality” marbled murrelet habitat in Southwest Washington—
approximately 60% of the suitablemarbled murrelet habitat remaining in that part of the state
. Under the interim strategy as itexisted before the amendment, the 12,000 acres of murrelet habitat subject to the amendmentwas completely off-limits to timber harvest. The Service approved the amendment withoutnotifying the public, without inviting public comment, and without conducting environmentalreview under the ESA or NEPA.5. Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief invalidating the amendmentbecause the Service’s decision threatens marbled murrelets nesting in the affected forests,threatens murrelet populations in western Washington, and threatens to prevent DNR fromadopting long-term marbled murrelet conservation strategies that will meet the requirements of the HCP. Plaintiffs also seek an order of the court requiring defendants to pay plaintiffs’ costsand attorneys’ fees.
II. JURISDICTION AND VENUE
6. This action is brought pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §701
et seq
. This Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (federal question), § 2201(declaratory judgment), and § 2202 (further relief).7. Venue is properly vested in this Court under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(e) because plaintiff Olympic Forest Coalition resides and has its principal places of business in this district and noreal property is involved in this action. Venue is also appropriate under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(e)because personnel in the Service’s Lacy, Washington office approved the HCP amendmentchallenged in this lawsuit.
Case 3:12-cv-05669 Document 1 Filed 07/27/12 Page 3 of 24

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