Black Hills logging will proceed despite protests
High court won’t hear objections of environmentalists
[NOTE – Increasing the dishonest & destructive logging in the Black Hills NF “to kill bugs”. However, Insects, fire and disease are part of nature. They keep our Commonwealth of forests healthy and alive. They did so until the white man came and began liquidating them, using them up because they were there. Nature’s insect, fire and disease don’t destroy forests. Man, chainsaws and greed destroy forests. Man, scientists, even foresters have never grown a forest, let alone a “like kind or better” forest. They don’t know how. They never have and they never will. TGH]
Marty Jackley / Emily Spartz-Argus Leader
Written by Cody Winchester
The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal in a two-year-old lawsuit over how a wilderness preserve in the Black Hills National Forest is managed.
The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal by environmentalists who sued the government to stop a timber management plan in the beetle-infested Black Hills National Forest.
Friends of the Norbeck and the Native Ecosystems Council filed suit in 2010 to stop the U.S. Forest Service from implementing a management plan for 28,000 acres in the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve.
The agency says the plan — thinning out stands of dense ponderosa pine with prescribed burns and the logging of 6,000 acres — would reduce the risk of catastrophic forest fire and benefit the birds, goats, deer and elk that call the preserve home. State and federal officials also hope clearing the timber will arrest the destructive march of the mountain pine beetle.
But the environmental groups claimed the government did not adequately assess how the timber removal would affect wildlife and old-growth forest in the preserve, which was established by special federal legislation in 1920. At the heart of the preserve is the Black Elk Wilderness, named after the Oglala Sioux holy man and home to Harney Peak.
The original lawsuit was filed in Colorado, but the state of South Dakota successfully petitioned to have the case moved to South Dakota federal court. That court dismissed the case, as did a federal appeals court.
And on April 23, the nation’s highest court declined to hear the case, “bringing an end to our attempt to stop the logging in the Norbeck Preserve,” Friends of the Norbeck said on its website.
Several attempts to contact the groups were unsuccessful. Two lawyers listed in court paperwork said they no longer represent the groups and wouldn’t comment.
“We can now appropriately continue with the Norbeck forestry plan to preserve our forests,” South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley said in a news release. “Without immediate action to counter the pine beetle infestation, our forest and wildlife remain at risk.”
In November, Brian Brademeyer, a spokesman for Friends of the Norbeck who lives in the preserve, told the Rapid City Journal there is no evidence that “excessive logging” allowed by the Forest Service has any environmental benefits. Once pine beetle infestations reach epidemic levels, he said, little can be done.
Black Hills National Forest Supervisor Craig Bobzien disagreed.
“Professional wildlife biologists in the state were essential in the project design, and commercial logging is one of the tools to treat and remove some of that biomass — for example, in and around pine forests that have encroached around hardwood,” he said. “But commercial harvest is just one part of that.”
The last major fire in the area, in 2000, burned 83,508 acres in the Southern Black Hills. That was before the beetle infestation took hold. Scientists estimate half of the Norbeck Wilderness Preserve now is affected.