Showing posts from September, 2015

Scientists Oppose House Bill to Short Circuit Environmental Review of Logging Projects

More than 250 scientists signed a letter (pdf) opposing a bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 2647) that would expedite logging on public lands by allowing the Forest Service to avoid the environmental review requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). NEPA has often been referred to as the magna carta of U.S. environmental law.

Phil Taylor of E&E reported on the letter and House bill on September 25 in E&E Daily.

Forest Service: the Poster Child for FOIA Reform

One year ago today, Dr. Dennis Murphy filed a FOIA request with the Forest Service for e-mail sent by or received by the Forest Supervisor who approved the Upper Echo Lake Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project pertaining to the project and by the lead biologist with respect to the project. Shortly after receiving the request, the Forest Service improperly denied Dr. Murphy's request for a fee waiver. Following an appeal by Dr. Murphy, on January 6, 2015, the agency granted the fee waiver. More than three months later (and more than six months after the initial request was filed), on April 7, 2015, the Forest Service issued its "response" composed primarily of hundreds of pages of redacted (i.e., blacked out) documents. On April 9, 2015, Dr. Murphy once again filed an administrative appeal from the agency's unlawful decision to withhold documents. More than five months since the appeal was filed, the agency has yet to respond.

This was not a burdensome request; the redac…