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E-M:/ Stunning Supreme Court victory



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Enviro-Mich message from anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org
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Friends:  This has implications throughout the country, including Michigan's 3
National Forests.  Stay tuned for details.  An astounding decision.  Anne
Woiwode


 
 SIERRA CLUB WINS STUNNING LOGGING VICTORY AT SUPREME COURT:
 
        COURT PROHIBITS LOGGING ON NATIONAL FORESTS
 
 
        In one of the biggest environmental legal victories in history, the 
 U.S. Supreme Court today surprised court watchers by ruling broadly in favor 
 of the Sierra Club and forests in the closely-watched Wayne National Forest 
 case.  In a unanimous decision co-authored by Justices Clarence Thomas and 
 Antonin Scalia, the Court ruled that the National Forest Management Act 
 prohibits -- not just clearcutting -- but *all* logging on national forests.  
 The basis of their surprise ruling was a complicated legal analysis, but its 
 essence is that NFMA demands protection of the environment and, if the law 
 gives the Forest Service conflicting mandates, the balance must be struck 
 maximally in favor of environmental protection.
 
        "There is nothing more important in this country's history than 
 protection of the American continent and its natural resource bounty," Scalia 
 and Thomas wrote in their joint opinion.  "The Founding Fathers did all they 
 could to explore, enjoy, and protect this continent for their families and 
 future generations, starting with Jefferson's purchase of the Louisiana 
 Territory through Lewis and Clark's exploration of the Great West."
 
        Timber industry executives have threatened to appeal the top U.S. 
 court's ruling to the NAFTA panel that considers environmental matters and 
 the World Court at The Hague, though most legal scholars consider it 
 unlikely that that route would provide any relief to the stunned logging 
 industry.
 
        We are still combing through the ruling and will provide a more 
 detailed analysis shortly.
 
 
 Sierra Club Law Program release
 April 1, 1998



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