The Angeles, Los Padres, Cleveland and San Bernardino National Forests in Southern California are surrounded by some of the most rapidly urbanizing land in the United States. They're also home to numerous sensitive, threatened and endangered animals like the California condor and the arroyo toad.
Developmental pressures like off-road vehicle abuse and oil and gas development threaten the forests' wilderness and the creatures living there. U.S. Forest Service plans for the forests would have exacerbated these problems -- opening more than 942,000 acres of wilderness to future development, while failing to protect sensitive areas and habitat.
But following an Earthjustice lawsuit on behalf of seven environmental groups, a federal district court found that the agency's plans violated the National Environmental Policy Act. Now, the Forest Service must go back to the drawing board.
Earthjustice represented the Center for Biological Diversity, Los Padres ForestWatch, Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, California Native Plant Society, California Wilderness Coalition, and The Wilderness Society.