EPIC v. Maxxam II

EPIC v. Maxxam II


EPIC challenged two Pacific Lumber THPs and one Simpson THP because the California Department of Forestry did not adequately consult with the Department of Fish and Game, or consider cumulative impacts and wildlife mitigation measures. Extensive cutting occurred during a 25-day period between the date CDF approved the THP and the date the motion for a Preliminary Injunction was granted. The loss of these trees, as well as changes in CDF policies spurred by this Preliminary Injunction and the results of other EPIC cases, was the basis for the trial court’s dismissal of this case on grounds of mootness. While the appellate court upheld the trial court’s decision of mootness, it also stated that “The record … leaves no doubt that environmental litigation, such as [EPIC’s] Preliminary Injunction in this case, played an important role in bringing about changes in departmental policies. To this extent, the issue of mootness is a product of [EPIC’s] own success.” One of the THPs at issue in this suit was located in the area of the Headwaters Forest complex, near Lawrence Creek.

Procedure: THP 1-87-625 HUM, 1-87-690 HUM, 1-87-619 HUM approved March 1988. EPIC filed Petition 3/18/88 (Humboldt Ct. #81790, Judge Buffington). Simpson Timber Company withdrew its plans to log THP 1-87-619. The trial judge disqualified the Attorney General on 1/4/89 for a conflict of interest based on his failure to represent the public interest. Even though this was reversed by the appellate court (#A045615), the Attorney General removed himself from this and other pending forestry lawsuits, forcing state agencies to find private counsel. Suit dismissed for mootness, because THPs completed and because regulations had been changed. Appellate court upheld dismissal, 5/27/92, but held EPIC entitled to fees under CCP ยง1021.5. Appellate decision published at 4 Cal.App.4th 1373.

Status: final.

Attorneys: Thomas Lippe, R. Jay Moller, Kenneth Collins, Bruce Towner.

EPIC Contact: Robert Sutherland (The Man Who Walks in the Woods)