Lawsuit challenges road projects in Southeast

KETCHIKAN — Several environmental and conservation groups have filed a lawsuit challenging the decisions of two federal agencies regarding road projects on Revillagigedo Island in southeast Alaska.

The Ketchikan Daily News reports that the groups are seeking an injunction for the Forest Service’s approval of a right-of-way easement for the state to build a 1-mile road across National Forest System land. They are also looking to have the court vacate the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ permit to the state authorizing the discharge of fill matter into nearly 10 acres of water to construct a 7-mile stretch of road.

Representatives of both federal agencies couldn’t comment on the lawsuit Friday.

The groups, which include Greenpeace Inc. and Greater Southeast Alaska Conservation Community, say the roads will have a significant impact on wildlife.

Several environmental and conservation groups have filed a lawsuit challenging the decisions of two federal agencies regarding road projects on Revillagigedo Island in southeast Alaska.

The groups filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Anchorage on Friday, which seeks an injunction for the Forest Service’s approval of a right-of-way easement to the state to build a 1-mile road across National Forest System land. The suit also calls on the court to vacate the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ permit to the state authorizing the discharge of 75,760 cubic yards of fill mater into nearly 10 acres of water to construct a 7.3-mile stretch of road.

The plaintiffs include Greenpeace Inc., Greater Southeast Alaska Conservation Community, Cascadia Wildlands, Center for Biological Diversity and The Boat Company. The groups claim increased access in the area will significantly harm wildlife populations, increase the spread of invasive species and put more pressure on an existing road system.

“Neither the Forest Service, nor the Corps, took a careful and searching hard look at the direct, indirect and cumulative impacts resulting from completion of the (right-of-way) authorization and road project,” the complaint alleges. “Neither the Forest Service, nor the Corps took steps to analyze and plan for the foreseeable increase in traffic, increase in hunting and trapping pressure, increase in wildlife disturbance and user conflicts, or the potential for an increase in timber extraction.”

Representatives of the Forest Service and Corps of Engineers could not comment on the lawsuit Friday, The Ketchikan Daily News reported.

The lawsuit also alleges violations of the National Environmental Policy Act, the National Forest Management Act, the Clean Water Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.

The plaintiffs are not requesting a jury trial, and no court dates have been set, according to online federal court records.

Information from: Ketchikan Daily News, http://www.ketchikandailynews.com

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