Karuk Tribe & Allies Add Klamath National Forest to Westside Lawsuit

Klamath National Forest

Groups Continue to Advocate for Alternative Timber Project

 Published March 20, 2016

HAPPY CAMP, CALIFORNIA – Today the Karuk Tribe, along with the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC), Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center (KS Wild), Center for Biological Diversity, and Klamath Riverkeeper, expanded their complaint over the Westside Post Fire logging plan to include the United States Forest Service and the Klamath National Forest. The Klamath National Forest proposal will increase fire danger, degrade water quality, and harm at-risk salmon populations. An alternative to the Project developed by the Karuk Tribe would result in about 33% of the logging that the Forest Service proposed, but would be far more protective of fisheries, water quality, and communities at risk of wildfire.

“The Westside proposal short changes our community by denying us an opportunity to restore the forest, manage wildfire, and put locals back to work,” said Karuk Chairman Russell “Buster” Attebery. “There is no way that the Forest Service plan will pass a legal challenge. The Karuk alternative on the other hand has the support of local conservation groups, provides significant opportunities for bringing timber to market, and complies with applicable state and federal law.”

The Tribe’s alternative proposal ensures that future fire events will be healthy for the environment and safe for local residents while providing marketable timber. The Forest Service did not analyze the Karuk Alternative because it rushed the environmental review process under the pretense of a “public emergency.”

The groups are challenging the illegal harm to fish and watersheds that will result from the proposed post-fire clear cutting timber sales in hopes that the federal government will change course.  Initial arguments will likely be heard by the Federal District Court for the Northern District of California in the very near future. The Western Environmental Law Center represents all of the plaintiffs and EPIC is represented by in-house counsel.


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