Ohio Forestry Association, Inc. v. Sierra Club
523 U.S. 726 (1998)
- As part of the National
Forest Management Act (NFMA) the US Forest Service set up a Land and
Resource Management Plan for Wayne National Forest in Ohio.
- The plan regulated how
logging activities were to be conducted in the National Forest. It did
not grant any logging permits, but just set rules on how permits should
- The Sierra Club sued for an
injunction, claiming that the plan would result in clear-cutting and other
destructive logging activities.
- The Trial Court dismissed the
case. Sierra Club appealed.
- The Trial Court found that
the Forest Service had acted lawfully when they made the plan.
- The Appellate Court reversed.
The Forest Service appealed.
- The Appellate Court found
that the plan did favor clear-cutting and so was a violation of the NFMA.
- The US Supreme Court reversed
and dismissed the case.
- The US Supreme Court found
that there could be no judicial review unless there was a case or
- That's known as ripeness.
- In this case, no permits had
been issued, so there was no case or controversy. Therefore the case was not ripe for review.
- Basically, the Sierra Club
would have to wait until there was a site-specific action (like a
logging company actually getting a permit for clear-cutting) before they
- The basic idea behind the need
for ripeness is that until the harm
to the plaintiff is imminent (which may never actually happen), the courts
don't have enough facts to actually rule on the case.
- There are three
considerations a court should take into account to determine ripeness:
- Whether delayed review
would cause hardship to the plaintiffs,
- Whether judicial
intervention would inappropriately interfere with further administrative
- Whether the courts would
benefit from further factual development of the issued presented.
- See Abbott Laboratories
v. Gardner (387 U.S. 136 (1967)).