Federal Court Denies Motion to Dismiss Lawsuit Challenging Upper Echo Lake Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project

On March 31, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California issued an order denying the motion of the Forest Service to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Dr. Dennis Murphy challenging the legality of the Upper Echo Lake Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project. 

The court rejected the Forest Service’s motion to dismiss in all respects.  While the agency argued that Dr. Murphy was required to voice his concerns regarding the Project through an ad hoc administrative appeals process and his failure to do so left him with no recourse to the judiciary, the court did not agree.  Likewise, the court rejected the agency’s argument that even if the Project implemented has environmental impacts that were not disclosed or analyzed up front, Dr. Murphy cannot challenge the Project once it is underway.


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