NMOHVA Re-Files Lawsuit Against Santa Fe National Forest Travel Management Decision(Updated: 10/04/2016)
NMOHVA's legal team has re-filed our petition to challenge the Santa Fe National Forest's Travel Management decision in Federal District Court. As we first stated in our May newsletter:
In its review of NMOHVA's brief, they (the 10th Circuit Court) determined that we failed to adequately establish our "standing" which would give the court the jurisdiction to hear the appeal.
If you remember, the interveners in the case, the Center for Biological Diversity and others, had challenged NMOHVA's standing. They made the same challenge at the District Court, and while the Judge there decided we did establish proper standing, the 10th Circuit ruled that we did not. Because of that technical issue, the 10th Circuit ruled that they could not hear the case and dismissed it.
The good news is that because the 10th Circuit ruled that we failed to establish standing, they ordered the District Court in Albuquerque to "vacate" or throw out its previous ruling. Furthermore, they ordered the District Court to dismiss our original motion "without prejudice" which means we can re-file the motion in District Court.
The Budd Falen Law Office legal team feels so strongly that the 10th Circuit court's decision on "standing" was wrong, that our substantive NEPA arguments were well made, and that this case is so important that they have offered to re-file the petition and do the briefing without further cost to NMOHVA.
After careful consideration of the situation and the Budd-Falen offer, the Board of Directors has agreed to re-file our case.
In a nutshell, it takes the lawsuit all the way back to the beginning. We are essentially in the same place as we were in December of 2012 when we first decided to challenge the Santa Fe's Travel Management decision in court. It is very important to understand that the 10th Circuit didn't decide that NMOHVA didn't have standing, they simply ruled that NMOHVA hadn't adequately established its standing in our court briefing and documents.
And now it is official. On September 29th, our petition to challenge the Forest Service's decision was re-filed. The filing included two documents that carefully address the establishment of the required "standing".
So we are, once again, officially challenging the Forest Service's decision on Travel Management on the Santa Fe National Forest. We promised that we would see this through to the end of the process and that is exactly what we are doing.
Gila National Forest Releases Forest Plan "Assessment" and Schedules Community Meetings(Updated: 10/03/2016)
We know it is hard to keep track of where each of the five National Forests in New Mexico are with their Forest Plan revision. NMOHVA is here to help! The Gila National Forest is not as far along as the Cibola, Carson, and Santa Fe Forests. They are in the very early phases of the process. The latest update from the Gila National Forest is that they have released their "Draft Assessment" document to the public for comment. This document identifies ecological, social and economic conditions, trends, and any risks to sustainability of the Gila National Forest resources. The Draft Assessment Report is available by clicking HERE. This document is quite large (22MB) so be patient while it downloads from the Forest Service web site.
The Forest Plan Revision team at the Gila is encouraging your feedback on the Draft Assessment Report and looking forward to public participation moving forward. For example, they are asking if they overlooked anything?did we overlook anything?
Please send any feedback or suggestions on the draft assessment report preferably in digital form to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail to Gila National Forest, Attn: Matt Schultz, 3005 E. Camino del Bosque, Silver City, NM 88061, or drop it off at one of the District Offices. This feedback will be most useful if submitted before November 15, 2016.
The Gila National Forest has also announced a series of seven public meetings to review and provide comments on the assessment document and gather input for the "need for change" document (the next step in the process). The schedule for these meetings, their times, and locations can be found by clicking HERE. The schedule for the meetings is about half way down the page....