Backing up an earlier ruling by a Sacramento judge, a federal appellate court has rejected a challenge by environmentalists to the U.S. Forest Service’s effort to reduce the risk of a recurrence of the disastrous Angora fire near South Lake Tahoe in 2007.
U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. last year tossed out a lawsuit in which Earth Island Institute and the Center for Biological Diversity claimed the Forest Service ignored the law when it “failed to take a hard look” at the impact of the Angora Fire Restoration Project on a bird species, on future fire behavior and on climate change. The agency addressed these issues “in proportion to (their) significance,” Burrell declared.
In a published opinion issued Thursday, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the Lake Tahoe Forest Plan did not require the Forest Service to demonstrate that the Angora project would maintain viable population levels of certain species, including the black-backed woodpecker.