DC Circuit Slams Forest Service’s Unexplained Decision to Reduce Public Lands for Wild Horse Management

Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, in a strongly worded ruling, agreed with our clients’ major objections to the U.S. Forest Service’s decision in 2013 to eliminate more than 23,000 acres in California’s Modoc National Forest from the Devil’s Garden Wild Horse Territory that had been home to federally protected wild horses for many decades.  Although the Forest Service argued that it could bypass crucial safeguards under the National Environmental Policy Act and the Administrative Procedure Act because the agency was merely correcting a purported “administrative error,” the court issued a stinging rebuke in finding that the Forest Service’s “head-in-the-sand approach” failed to “candidly confront the relevant environmental concerns” resulting from this significant shift in the agency’s management of these public lands.  We represent the American Wild Horse Campaign, Animal Legal Defense Fund, Return to Freedom, and wildlife advocates in this case.  The court’s opinion can be found here.

Photo courtesy of ReturntoFreedom.org