Notice of Appeal
April 16, 2001
USDA Forest Service
Pacific Southwest Region
1323 Club Drive
Vallejo, CA 94592
Under provisions of 36 CFR 217 this is an appeal by the Quincy Library Group (QLG) of the Sierra Nevada Forest Plan Amendment (SNFPA) Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Record of Decision (ROD) dated January 12, 2001, signed by Regional Foresters Bradley E. Powell and Jack Blackwell. This appeal is filed also by the County of Plumas, the Maidu Cultural and Development Group, and the Roundhouse Council, all of Plumas County, California. For convenience, all appellants are referred to in the narrative of this appeal as "Quincy Library Group."
We do not believe at this point in our appeal for administrative relief that we are required by law to cite an exhaustive list of every regulation and every possible way that the Sierra Nevada Forest Plan Amendment EIS and ROD have erred. Nevertheless we will do our best to refer our narrative to the particular laws, regulations, and policies that are violated by the FEIS and ROD, both in specific instances and in cumulative effect.
We believe the Forest Service is required to take a "hard
look" at the decision and at the information in the SNFPA planning
record to see whether a supplemental and/or revised EIS is required
because of fatal flaws in the current FEIS, ROD, and planning record.
There are issues and impacts on the human environment which should have
been studied in this EIS — issues and impacts we asked to have studied
at the beginning of the Sierra Nevada Framework and this EIS process —
but that were downplayed or just plain ignored in the FEIS. Other issues
were dealt with in an arbitrary, biased, unfair, and/or incomplete manner.
We bring this administrative appeal as a broad-based, unique national experiment in natural resource management conflict resolution and citizen group collaboration with a Federal land management agency. The QLG-area communities have labored for a decade in an attempt to find common ground on issues relating to timber harvest, logging methods, old-growth forest conservation, forest health restoration, and fuels reduction needs. We have invested thousands of hours in meetings, field trips, workshops, symposia, and Federal Advisory Committee proceedings. When the Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery Act Pilot Project became administratively snarled in the Sierra Nevada Framework and Forest Plan Amendment processes, QLG took part in all public participation opportunities offered by the Forest Service, attending and commenting in good faith.
We believe this appeal should be sustained on the basis of violations of the Organic Act of 1897, Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act of 1960, the Resources Planning Act of 1974, the National Forest Management Act of 1976 and its implementing regulations, the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and its implementing regulations, the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 701 et seq.), and the Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery Act of 1998. We request particularly close review and oversight of claims made in the FEIS and ROD for scientific validity of the data, evaluations, and conclusions which underlie the Decision and its proposed application to management activities, particularly the management of California spotted owl habitat.
California spotted owl science has been misused in development of the SNFPA FEIS, with the consequent exposure of Sierran forest ecosystems to catastrophic wildfire, economic vulnerability, and social collapse. The planning record documents various attempts, from a Washington Office review of the Draft EIS down to memoranda from individual employees, to require scientific validity and professional integrity in the Final EIS and ROD. Unfortunately those efforts were very often ignored, downplayed, or misquoted, so the resulting FEIS and ROD do not have either legal or scientific validity on key issues. An arbitrary deadline dominated the entire process in at least its final six months, which prevented adequate modeling, analysis, evaluation and integration of results. In the end even the Framework Science Team Leader’s best professional advice was ignored, as demonstrated in his letter of January 11, 2001, attached as Appeal Appendix C.
In this appeal, the Quincy Library Group first presents a Table of Contents, a One Page Summary of the appeal issues, and an Executive Summary, then the Legal Framework of laws and regulations that are violated by the FEIS and ROD, followed by sections detailing specific instances of those violations, and finally QLG states the relief requested, including particular actions for managing these forests while corrections are made to the EIS and a new Decision is issued, so as to restore lawful, sustainable, and practicable Forest Service management direction for Sierra Nevada National Forests. Finally there is a summary of Modeling Results, a statement of the Relief Requested, then a signature page, and a list of Appeal Appendices.