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Supreme Court of the United States
February 25, 1998, Argued ; May 18, 1998, Decided
[***925] [**1668] [*728] JUSTICE BREYER delivered the opinion of the Court.
The Sierra Club challenges the lawfulness of a federal land and resource management plan adopted by the United States Forest Service for Ohio's Wayne National Forest on [***926] the ground that the plan permits too much logging and too much clearcutting. We conclude that the controversy is not yet ripe for judicial review.
The National Forest Management Act of 1976 (NFMA) requires the Secretary of Agriculture to "develop, maintain, [****6] and, as appropriate, revise land and resource management plans for units of the National Forest System." 90 Stat. 2949, as renumbered and amended, 16 U.S.C. § 1604(a). The System itself is vast. It includes 155 national forests, 20 national grasslands, 8 land utilization projects, and other lands that together occupy nearly 300,000 square miles of land located in 44 States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. § 1609(a); 36 CFR § 200.1(c)(2) (1997); Office of the [*729] Federal Register, United States Government Manual 135 (1997/1998). The National Forest Service, which manages the System, develops land and resource management plans pursuant to NFMA, and uses these forest plans to "guide all natural resource management activities," 36 CFR § 219.1(b) (1997), including use of the land for "outdoor recreation, range, timber, watershed, wildlife and fish, and wilderness." 16 U.S.C. § 1604(e)(1). In developing the plans, the Service must take both environmental and commercial goals into account. See, e.g., § 1604(g); 36 CFR § 219.1(a) (1997).
This case focuses upon a plan that the Forest Service has developed for the Wayne National Forest located in southern Ohio. When the Service [****7] wrote the plan, the forest consisted of 178,000 federally owned acres (278 sq. mi.) in three forest units that are interspersed among privately owned lands, some of which the Forest Service plans to acquire over time. See Land and Resource Management Plan, Wayne National Forest, United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Eastern Region (1987) 1-3, 3-1, A-13 to A-17 (hereinafter Plan). The Plan permits logging to take place on 126,000 (197 sq. mi.) of the federally owned acres. Id., at 4-7, 4-180. At the same time, it sets a ceiling on the total amount of wood that can be cut -- a ceiling that amounts to about 75 million board feet over 10 years, and which, the Plan projects, would lead to logging on about 8,000 acres (12.5 sq. mi.) during that decade. Id., at 4-180. According to the Plan, logging on about 5,000 (7.8 sq. mi.) of those 8,000 acres would involve clearcutting, or other forms of what the Forest Service calls "even-aged" tree harvesting. Id., at 3-5, 4-180.
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523 U.S. 726 *; 118 S. Ct. 1665 **; 140 L. Ed. 2d 921 ***; 1998 U.S. LEXIS 3101 ****; 66 U.S.L.W. 4376; 98 Cal. Daily Op. Service 3733; 98 Daily Journal DAR 5150; 28 ELR 21119; 46 ERC (BNA) 1577; 1998 Colo. J. C.A.R. 2473; 11 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 525
OHIO FORESTRY ASSOCIATION, INC., PETITIONER v. SIERRA CLUB, ET AL.
Prior History: [****1] ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT.
Disposition: 105 F.3d 248, vacated and remanded.
forest, logging, plans, ripe, clearcutting, national forest, timber, take place, Appeals, environmental, site-specific, effects, resource management, timber harvest, revise
Administrative Law, Agency Adjudication, General Overview, Constitutional Law, The Judiciary, Case or Controversy, Ripeness, Judicial Review, Reviewability, Civil Procedure, Justiciability, Ripeness, Environmental Law, Administrative Proceedings & Litigation, Jurisdiction, Tests for Ripeness, Judicial Review, Energy & Utilities Law, Mining Claims, Surface Mining Control & Reclamation Act, Governments, Public Lands, Forest Lands, Hazardous Wastes & Toxic Substances, Toxic Substances, Business & Corporate Compliance, Environmental Law, Assessment & Information Access, Environmental Impact Statements, Natural Resources & Public Lands, National Environmental Policy Act