Crag’s newest attorney – Courtney Johnson – just won an important victory in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA), Oregon Wild and the Oregon high desert. The claims challenged the Forest Service’s actions in authorizing grazing on 11 allotments on the Fremont National Forest. The Fremont Forest Plan requires that the Forest Service monitor stream conditions and make adjustments to grazing practices to protect habitat for inland native fish like the bull trout. ONDA argues that the Forest Service violated the National Forest Management Act when it issued term grazing permits and Annual Operating Instructions on the 11 allotments without adequately protecting native fish habitat.
Crag brought the claims on behalf of its clients pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The District Court dismissed the claims as “programmatic” challenges barred by the Supreme Court’s analysis of the APA in Lujan v. National Wildlife Federation. In a memorandum opinion today, the Ninth Circuit reversed the dismissal of two of the four claims, finding that ONDA’s claims challenge only a discrete set of final agency actions on a small percentage of grazing allotments in a single forest area. Courtney Johnson from Crag argued the case before the Ninth Circuit panel on December 10, 2008, with Dave Becker from ONDA assisting with the argument. JD Brown, formerly of Crag, wrote the briefs on the appeal.
Click here to listen to Courtney argue before the Ninth Circuit.
Click hear for the memorandum opinion from the Ninth Circuit.