A complaint was filed August 3 with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to obtain information from the U.S. Forest Service that it has withheld for over a year about the proposed Gauley Healthy Forest Restoration Project (GHFR) within the Monongahela National Forest (MNF), including such basic information as to the specific location of the project within the MNF. The action was taken by Appalachian Mountain Advocates on behalf of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, an ABRA member.
The GHFR’s stated objective is:
“Reduce the expansion and threat of significant, damaging forest insects and disease; and reduce fuels buildup that cause uncharacteristic wildfire conditions. Treatments may include prescribed fire, timber harvest and temporary road construction.”
In July 2020, ABRA, on behalf of its West Virginia member organizations, informally asked for more information about the project, including its specific location within the MNF. The GHFR project had already been identified as a project that is part of ABRA’s Conservation Hub program. When MNF staff failed to adequately respond to ABRA’s information request, a formal Freedom of Information (FOIA) request was filed by ABRA. While some information was provided in response to ABRA’s FOIA request, it was still lacking in major specifics, prompting the necessity of the filing of the complaint with the U.S. District Court.
A copy of the complaint is here.