10 Environmental Groups Sue USDA Over Grazing Rights
By: Patti Strand Date: 01/13/2012 Category: | Wildlife Journal |
Forest Guardians Inc. and nine other environmental groups in the American southwest have filed suit against the US Department of Agriculture and USDA Secretary Dan Glickman for the alleged failure of the US Forest Service to protect the Mexican spotted owl. The suit claims that allowing cattle to graze on public lands in New Mexico and Arizona drives out the small mammals the birds need for food and degrades the habitat.
Additional plaintiffs on the suit are:
Gila Watch, a 1000-member New Mexico group that monitors activities in Gila National Forest and the Gila and Aldo Leopold wilderness areas.
White Mountain Conservation League, a 200-member group from Arizona that monitors grazing activities on public lands in the state.
Carson Forest Watch is a 200-member volunteer organization that monitors Carson National Forest.
Maricopa Audubon Society is a branch of the National Audubon Society with about 300 member families.
Southwest Environmental Center is a 1000-member education and advocacy group in New Mexico.
Animal Protection of New Mexico is a 3000-member animal rights group.
Forest Conservation Council is a national organization working to restore the native biological diversity of forests and woodlands.
Arizona Wildlife Federation is an affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation.
T&E Inc. is an Arizona-based nonprofit foundation involved in environmental advocacy.
All plaintiffs claim damage to their rights to enjoy the forests, study and observe birds, and take advantage of opportunities to protect the environment.
The suit claims that the Forest Service failed to put a 1996 plan into action to save the Mexican spotted owl, a plan that called for new standards for grazing rights in areas adjacent to the birds' habitat, monitoring of key grazing areas, and stricter enforcement of riparian guidelines to prevent stream erosion and restore some streams to good condition as soon as possible.
The suit asks for a declaratory judgement that the USFS has violated the ESA; an order that that Forest Service complete an ESA report about the impact of grazing on the spotted owl;an order that the Forest Service follow previously determined management guidelines governing grazing; court oversight of the case; and costs of pursuing the litigation.
The Forest Service has not yet responded to the suit.
About The Author
All Authors Of This Article: | Patti Strand |