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Paul Weiland Quoted in Tahoe Daily Tribune on Shutdown of Upper Echo Lakes Project

08/07/2015 Tahoe Daily Tribune

Nossaman partner Paul Weiland was quoted in the Tahoe Daily Tribune about the recent decision by the U.S. Forest Service to scuttle its Upper Echo Lakes Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project in Northern California. On behalf of Dr. Dennis Murphy of the University of Nevada, Reno, Mr. Weiland filed a challenge to the Project in 2013 once it became apparent that the Forest Service intended to move forward without engaging in the environmental review required by the National Environmental  Protection Agency (NEPA). On July 20, 2015 the Forest Service withdrew its decision memo authorizing the Upper Echo Lake Project. The withdrawal, Mr. Weiland said, "is obviously a step in the right direction and speaks volumes. However, the litigation remains ongoing."

The Project called for the cutting, piling, and burning of an unspecified volume of trees and brush around Upper Echo Lake. The Forest Service, according to the Project's Nov. 5, 2012 memo, states it was necessary to reduce the risk of wildfires. Cutting occurred in fall 2013, but it was halted under a series of stipulations issue in the litigation.  When the Forest Service began cutting pine trees down, it created slash piles it intended to burn rather than remove. These slash piles are still present in the area and have increased surface fuel loads.  "They [the U.S. Forest Service]  still have to clean up the mess they made," Mr. Weiland added. "It doesn't make sense to just leave that there. What they have done is actually increase the risk of wildfires."

Sacramento's ABC News 10 also ran a piece on the Forest Service withdrawing its decision memo authorizing the Project.

Click for the full article from the Tahoe Daily Tribune here: http://www.tahoedailytribune.com/news/17509665-113/tahoe-forest-supervisor-halts-echo-lakes-fuels-project

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