A court recently denied a request for a temporary restraining order to stop an ongoing logging project on the Payette National Forest, even though such injunctions have usually granted by the courts on the basis that environmental injury, by its nature, is often irreparable. In the case, plaintiffs submitted numerous declarations stating that the logging project would irreparably harm their ability to view, experience, recreate, enjoy and utilize the area involved. The court’s decision was notable because it held that the plaintiffs’ standard allegations of harm to their ability to enjoy the area involved in the logging project were not sufficiently specific to show a likelihood of irreparable harm. The court held that logging is not per se sufficient to warrant an injunction, even though it will result in permanent removal of trees, and the project only impacted 1,011 acres of the overall 80,000 acres in the area at issue.
The court also found that the public interest was not in favor of an injunction because the logging project itself would benefit the public. The project was designed for the purpose of restoring the forest to its historic condition, improve habitat connectivity, increase recreational opportunities, reduce wildfire risk and provide water restoration. In addition, the court found that the project would provide employment and economic benefits to the surrounding communities.