Sunday, October 27, 2013

Northwest Forest Resource Council v. Espy case brief

Northwest Forest Resource Council v. Espy case brief summary
846 F. Supp. 1009 (1994)

Plaintiff environmental group requested that the court declare the Forest Ecosystem Management Assessment Team (FEMAT) to be an "advisory committee," to declare FEMAT's proceedings null and void for failure to comply with Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), 5 U.S.C.S. App. 2, and to enjoin defendant government from any reliance upon FEMAT's report. Each party filed motions for summary judgment.

The environmental group alleged that, as convened and employed by the President, FEMAT constituted an "advisory committee" within the contemplation of FACA, which, if so, then entitled the environmental group and the public generally to certain rights to be privy to and to participate in FEMAT's proceedings. Having been denied those rights while FEMAT was engaged in preparing a certain document, which the government's secretaries would have, at the President's direction, relied upon in establishing and implementing a "forest plan," the environmental group asked the court to declare FEMAT to have been an "advisory committee" and to declare FEMAT's proceedings null and void for failure to comply with FACA. The government responded that FEMAT was never conceived, nor did it function, as an "advisory committee" under FACA.

  • The court found that FEMAT absolutely did render policy advice to the President as FEMAT's mandate was to develop and analyze the effects of alternative ecosystem management policy options for presentation to the Administration, and it did so. 
  • Thus, FEMAT directly influenced the President's ultimate policy decision.

The court granted the environmental group's motion for summary judgment in part and denied the government's motion for summary judgment.

Recommended Supplements for Administrative Law Examples & Explanations: Administrative Law, Fourth Edition
Administrative Law and Process: In a Nutshell (Nutshell Series)

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