LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A pair of environmental groups claim the
U.S. Forest Service is violating its own rules and federal law with
a plan to cut trees on more than 12,000 acres of the Daniel Boone
National Forest in eastern Kentucky.
Heartwood and Kentucky Heartwood sued the U.S. Forest Service in
federal court in Lexington, seeking to stop the proposed logging.
The lawsuit said logging would damage the environment and harm
wildlife and endangered species living in the 700,000 acre
"These grass roots groups have exhausted all of the avenues
made to them by the Forest Service, to no avail," said Lexington
lawyer Joe Childers, who filed the suit Wednesday. "Their members
decided to bring this lawsuit to protect a public resource that is
highly valued by the vast majority of Kentuckians."
Marie Walker, a Forest Service spokeswoman, said Friday that the
agency had not seen the suit and had no comment.
The two unaffiliated groups allege that a 2004 plan that guides
the management of the forest would harm the endangered Indiana bat,
Virginia big-eared bat, bald eagle, running buffalo clover and
Eggert's sunflowers. The 2004 plan called for more logging than has
been seen in the previous decade, but not a return to the levels of
Under the plan, the Forest Service intends to log more than
12,500 acres scattered across the northern end of the forest. The
agency says the logging is necessary to repair widespread damage
from a February 2003 ice storm. The management plan also calls for
burning thousands of acres every year.
Heartwood spokesman Steve Chaplin said the burning is
unnecessary and bad for the environment.
"Global warming experts and public health experts are against
it, as are scientists who say it's not the effective oak management
tool first thought," Chaplin said. "And then there are the folks
who have to breathe the pollution everyday."
The Forest Service has said the burning is necessary to
encourage oaks and pines to grow while controlling less-desirable
species. In the 1990s, a lawsuit by the environmental groups halted
logging in the Daniel Boone for two years.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)