The Idaho Wool Growers Association, together with the American Sheep Industry Association and 22 other individuals and organizations, officially filed its appeal to the July 20 Record of Decision (ROD) of Payette National Forest (PNF) Supervisor Suzanne Rainville to adopt alternative 7O contained in the Final Supplemental Environmental Impacts Statement and Forest Plan Amendment Identifying Suitable Rangeland for Domestic Sheep and Goat Grazing to Maintain Habitat for Viable Bighorn Sheep Populations (FSEIS).
The appeal states that the appellants are significantly and adversely affected by the ROD and the U.S. Forest Service's (FS) reduction of suitable rangeland for domestic sheep grazing on the PNF. Under the ROD, the FS would reduce grazing for domestic sheep on the forest by roughly 70 percent. Systematically and increasingly, the FS is forcing sheep ranchers dependent upon their forest grazing permits off allotments and out of business. The ROD has the potential to affect sheep producers nationwide as any loss of grazing acreage would cause the entire sheep industry to lose infrastructure.
The reasons for filing this appeal state that the FS's elimination of grazing on the PNF exceeds the agency's regulatory authority and is contrary to law; the FS failed to observe procedures required by law in issuing the ROD and preparing the FSEIS; the FS's decision is arbitrary and capricious because it fails to consider the most important aspect of the problem and that the selected alternative is unlikely to control disease transmission; and the FSEIS fails to satisfy NEPA's informed decision-making and informed public-participation purposes.
The group has retained the services of Holland & Hart LLP out of Boise, Idaho.
The appeal is available from the home page of www.sheepusa.org.