A New Runway Doesn’t Need an EIS. Why Should a Timber Sale?

The Ninth Circuit’s decision in Barnes v. FAA upheld an agency finding that constructing a new airport runway does not require an EIS. This is a stark contrast to recent district court decisions requiring an EIS for modest forestry projects, such as the Goose Project which would conduct largely thinning treatment on 2,100 acres, or the White Castle timber sale involving 187 acres of variable retention harvest.

What I Learned in Court

Last week, I was at the Federal Courthouse in Eugene to observe oral arguments of a legal challenge to one of those projects. Within minutes of walking into the courtroom, I was struck by the irony of the exercise.