A number of industry and ranching groups have sued the U.S. Forest Service (USFS ) over the 2012 forest planning rule, alleging that it was an unlawful attempt to turn “ecological sustainability” and ”ecosystem services” into national forest management priorities. Federal Forest Res. Coal. v. Vilsack, No. 12-1333 (D.D.C. 8/13/12). Plaintiffs charge that the agency had no legal right to establish such priorities under the National Forest Management Act, Multiple‑U se Sustained-Yield Act and Organic Administration Act of 1897. They also argue that the rule’s requirement for maintenance of viable populations of plant and animal species that are “of conservation concern” will favor the maintenance of local wildlife populations and thus make “multi-use management of the national forest impossible.”
Released on March 23, 2012, the USFS land management planning rule, which governs planning for 193 million acres of federal forests and grasslands, replaced a 1982 rule. Plaintiffs seek an order setting aside the 2012 planning rule, a declaration that the rule violates federal law, an injunction against any action implementing any portion of the planning rule, and fees and costs.