District Court Voids Bush Forest Service Rules:

Yesterday, Judge Phyllis Hamilton of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California struck down the Bush Administration's forest management reforms for failing to conduct adequate analyses of the new rules' environmental impacts under the National Environmental Policy Act. Judge Hamilton also found that the Forest Service did not adequately address the reforms' potential impact on endangered species, as required under the Endangered Species Act. The NYT story linked above has some initial reactions to the decision:

Tim Preso, a lawyer who argued the case for the environmental group Earthjustice, said Friday, "Basically, the importance of this decision is that the Bush administration had been trying to take all mandatory environmental protections out of forest planning process and this decision puts them back in." . . .

Chris West of the American Forest Resource Council, a group based in Portland, Ore., that represents timber interests, said: "The court order is requiring analysis when not a grain of sand or a single hair on a critter is being moved. And we are going to spend millions of dollars doing it."

"It's bureaucracy for bureaucracy's sake," Mr. West said.

The decision in Citizens for Better Forestry v. U.S. Department of Agriculture is available here. Earthjustice represented the environmental plaintiffs, and their press release is here. The Bush Administration has not yet decided whether it will appeal.