Newton County Wildlife Association v. United States Forest Service
113 F.3d 110 (8th Cir. 1997)

  • Using the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (WRSA) (16 U.S.C. 1271-1287), Congress designated six rivers within the Ozark National Forest for special protection.
    • The US Forest Service was given three years to develop comprehensive management plans for the rivers, per 1274(d)(1).
  • Before the three years were up, and before the Forest Service released their management plans, they held some timber sales.
    • Winning bidders would be allowed to conduct logging activities in the National Forest, potentially endangering the rivers.
  • NCWA sued for an injunction.
    • NCWA argued that the Forest Service was in violation of the WRSA because they needed to finish the management plans before taking actions that had the potential to harm the rivers.
  • The Trial Court denied the injunction. NCWA appealed.
  • The Appellate Court affirmed.
    • The Appellate Court found that 1274(d)(1) did not mandate completion of management plans before approving timber sales.
    • The Court found that the Forest Service has substantial discretion in deciding how to meet its obligations under WSRA.
    • The Court found that since the timber sales were outside of the boundaries of the six scenic rivers, the WRSA could not be used to enjoin the activities.
      • Despite the fact the activities outside of the boundaries could have harmful effects inside the boundaries.