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10th Circuit Court of Appeals Rules Against NMOHVA

(Updated: 08/01/2017)

It’s over.  The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that NMOHVA cannot bring its lawsuit against the Santa Fe National Forest a 2nd time even though the first lawsuit was dismissed “without prejudice” and our legal team had attempted to correct the deficiency in our standing in the first case.  You can read the gory details by clicking the Ruling below:

10th Circuirt Ruling.pdf

What does this mean?  It means our long standing legal battle (nearly five years!) is finally over.  It also means that it is time to move on.  While we are sorely disappointed in the ruling and the fact that the actual merits of our lawsuit were never heard in front of the 10th Circuit, we can still all be proud of what NMOHVA accomplished. 

“Say what?” you may ask.  “I thought we lost the case.” 

We did lose this particular challenge but we have still gained much, even in the loss.  NMOHVA is taken a lot more seriously by the various federal land management agencies.  We have demonstrated that we have the knowledge and resources, and most importantly, the means and resolve to take the agencies to court if they break the law.  We are acknowledged as an important representative of the public by the federal agencies who now commonly seek out our expertise and opinion. 

This didn’t happen overnight and is certainly not solely the result of suing the Forest Service.  It is the result of a lot of hard work by NMOHVA’s members and Board – constantly being “at the table” and fully involved in all aspects of the agencies planning and project activity.  But it is also a direct result of the agencies knowing that we are carefully watching them and that we will challenge them when they break the rules.  We once had a federal agency tell us that they didn’t care what we thought because they KNEW we would never sue them.  We don’t hear that anymore!

And now we move on.  NMOHVA is fully engaged with the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service across New Mexico.  The Forest Plan revision process that is going on across all five of new Mexico’s National Forest’s is a rare opportunity to help shape how our Forest’s will be managed for the next several decades.  The work we invest now will help influence the results for years to come. 

Together, we do more!