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Woodpecker Lawsuit

Woodpecker Lawsuit

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Published by: srust2792 on Feb 17, 2011
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09/19/2014

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COMPLAINT
Rachel M. Fazio (CA Bar No. 187580)P.O. Box 697Cedar Ridge, CA 95924(530) 273-9290rfazio@nccn.net Sarah Uhlemann (WA Bar No. 41164)Center for Biological DiversityP.O. Box 31001Seattle, WA 98103-9998(206) 327-2344suhlemann@biologicaldiversity.org *Application of 
 pro hac vice
admission pendingJustin Augustine (CA Bar No. 235561)Center for Biological Diversity351 California St., Suite 600San Francisco, CA 94104(415) 436-9682Fax: (415) 436-9683 jaugustine@biologicaldiversity.org
 Attorneys for Plaintiffs
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTFOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
EARTH ISLAND INSTITUTE and CENTER FOR BIOLOGICALDIVERSITY,Plaintiffs,v.TERRI MARCERON, in her official capacityas Forest Supervisor for the Lake TahoeBasin Management Unit, and UNITEDSTATES FOREST SERVICE, an agency of the Department of Agriculture,Defendants.Case No.
COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORYAND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
Case 2:11-at-00190 Document 1 Filed 02/11/11 Page 1 of 18
 
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COMPLAINT
INTRODUCTION
1. Through this action, Plaintiffs Earth Island Institute and Center for Biological Diversitychallenge the Angora Fire Restoration Project (“Angora Project”) in the Lake Tahoe Basin ManagementUnit (“LTBMU”) of the United States Forest Service. The Angora Project proposes to log 1,398 acresof rare “snag forest habitat” (dense mature and old forest that has experienced moderate to high-intensitywildland fire) on national forest lands near the south side of Lake Tahoe in California and will includethe construction of 7.7 miles of roads and 23 new “landing areas” or forest openings.2. In 2007, the Angora fire burned the Project area at varying intensities. Burned forest provides essential habitat for many fire-dependent species, including the declining black-backed woodpecker. This species requires moderately to severely burned forest habitat, including a very highdensity of large “snags” or dead trees, for nesting and foraging. The Angora Project will eliminate about70% of the last remaining black-backed woodpecker suitable habitat currently available in the LakeTahoe Basin Management Unit. According to the Forest Service’s overestimate, this leaves sufficienthabitat for about 23 pairs of black-backed woodpeckers (EA, pp. 3.6-65 through 3.6-66); though thescientific studies cited in the Angora EA on this issue show the remaining habitat would support far fewer pairs than this—as few as 2 to 4 pairs. Yet, whether 23 pairs or 4 pairs would remain after the planned logging, the Forest Service has never determined the minimum viable population of black- backed woodpeckers on the LTBMU or whether the Angora project would push black-backed woodpecker populations below this critical threshold and threaten the populations’ viability across theLTBMU.3. In addition, and unlike most salvage logging projects that send wood to mills for lumber,most of the large snags that would be logged in the Angora Project, which currently provide extremelyrare and important habitat, would be sent to biomass facilities and burned to generate energy.Greenhouse gas emissions from the Angora Project would be substantial. In addition to the greenhousegases released during logging from soil disturbance, burning of unwanted materials on-site, equipmentuse, and transportation of the biomass, burning wood to produce biomass energy emits substantialamounts of greenhouse gases – as much as burning coal. The Forest Service failed to fully consider all
Case 2:11-at-00190 Document 1 Filed 02/11/11 Page 2 of 18
 
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COMPLAINT
greenhouse gas emissions from the Angora Project along with their potential impacts and writes off these emissions as insignificant.4. This action arises under, and alleges violation of, the National Environmental Policy Act(“NEPA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 4321
et seq.
; the National Forest Management Act (“NFMA”), 16 U.S.C. §§1600
et seq.
; and the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”), 5 U.S.C. §§ 501
et seq.
; and the statutes’implementing regulations. Specifically, this action challenges the Angora Fire Restoration ProjectDecision Notice and Finding of No Significant Impact (“FONSI”) issued by Terri Marceron, ForestSupervisor for the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, and the United States Forest Service (referred tocollectively as “Defendants” or “Forest Service”). Plaintiffs may seek temporary, preliminary, or  permanent injunctions against all or portions of the federally approved activities challenged herein toforestall irreparable injury to the environment and to Plaintiffs’ interests, and any other such relief as theCourt deems appropriate.
JURISDICTION
5. Jurisdiction over this action is conferred by 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 (federal question), 2201(declaratory relief), and 2202 (injunctive relief). This cause of action arises under the laws of the United States, including NEPA, NFMA, the APA, and implementing regulations established pursuant to thesefederal statutes. An actual, justiciable controversy exists between Plaintiffs and Defendants. Therequested relief is proper under 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201 and 2202, and 5 U.S.C. §§ 705 and 706.
VENUE
6. Venue in this Court is proper under 28 U.S.C §§ 1391 and 1392. The actions challenged in this case, including the Decision Notice and FONSI, were developed and issued by Defendants in theLake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, which is headquartered in South Lake Tahoe, California, located inEl Dorado County. Additionally, land subject to the challenged decisions is located in this judicialdistrict. Venue therefore properly vests in this district.
PARTIES
7. Plaintiff Earth Island Institute (“EII”) is a nonprofit corporation organized under the lawsof the state of California. EII is headquartered in Berkeley, California. EII’s mission is to develop and 
Case 2:11-at-00190 Document 1 Filed 02/11/11 Page 3 of 18

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