Sep 24, 2019

Judge temporarily blocks Trump logging plans for largest U.S. forest

Photo: Getty Images/Wanderluster

A federal judge temporarily blocked the Trump administration's plans Monday allowing the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to permit logging 42,500 acres in the United States' largest national forest.

Where it stands: The proposed logging is part of a larger plan by the USFS to open up 2.2 million acres to sales, with the more than 42,000 acres available for logging and the remaining land available for road construction.

  • The USFS had been just days away from collecting bids and divvying contracts for the logging project, which was set to clear out old-growth timber in Alaska's Tongass National Forest. Environmental groups backed a lawsuit against the plans in May.
  • The area will be protected from the "cutting of trees, road construction, or other ground-disturbing activities," per the ruling.
  • The court further blocked the opening of bids or granting contracts related to the proposed logging.

What they're saying: The plaintiffs successfully argued the plan would cause "irreparable harm" to the area, according to the court documents.

  • The court's ruling notes that "public interests that might be injured by a preliminary injunction... do not outweigh the public interests that will be served."

Go deeper: Trump admin. walks back plan to cut Forest Service program, slash 1,110 jobs

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USDA Forest Service plans to expand logging in Tongass National Forest

Baranof Island in Tongass National Forest, Alaska, in 2013. Photoo: Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

At the request of President Trump, the USDA Forest Service is drafting a plan that would allow logging on over half of Alaska's Tongass National Forest, the Washington Post reports.

The big picture: The Trump administration has rolled back at least 85 environmental policies, per the NYT, with 32 others in progress. These efforts have at times been applied to policies that predate the Obama administration — in this case, the 2001 "roadless rule" dates back to the Clinton era, Axios' Amy Harder notes.

Go deeperArrowOct 15, 2019

Second-term Supreme Court cases to watch

Photo: Nurphoto/Getty Images

The Supreme Court, now with a solid conservative majority after Justice Brett Kavanaugh's appointment, is hearing cases that could have long-term ramifications on immigration, LGBTQ employment protections and access to abortion.

The big picture: The high court — with 5 conservatives and 4 liberals — kept a relatively low profile in its first term this year. But it could hand major wins to Republicans in 2020's second term, emboldened by Kavanaugh's appointment and sharpening their focus as a slew of hot-button disputes work their way up from lower courts.

Key cases to watchArrowUpdated Oct 18, 2019

Trump administration faces 2 more legal setbacks on health care agenda

The Trump administration's health care agenda suffered 2 more setbacks in court on Friday.

Driving the news: A federal judge in New York blocked implementation of the administration's "public charge" rule, which would make it harder for immigrants to gain legal status if they're likely to rely on public programs — including Medicaid or subsidies through the Affordable Care Act.

Go deeperArrowOct 14, 2019