US Supreme Court Denies Environmentalist Petition Involving Norbeck Wildlife Preserve

Little Devil's Tower

Little Devil's Tower

PIERRE, S.D. – Attorney General Marty Jackley announced today that the U.S. Supreme Court has denied the Friends of Norbeck and Native Ecosystem’s petition to review in the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve challenge.

On September 3, 2010, the Friends of Norbeck and the Native Ecosystems Council filed a lawsuit in Colorado Federal District Court requesting a permanent injunction to enjoin implementation of the Timber Management Plan for the Preserve Area. On October 12, 2010, the State of South Dakota, filed a Motion to Intervene into the litigation and to move venue from Colorado to South Dakota District Court.

“It was and remains the State’s position that there is a considerable local interest in the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve, and that South Dakotans have a unique stake in the management of the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve giving rise to a more appropriate litigation forum here in South Dakota,” said Jackley. On October 18, 2010, the Colorado District Court agreed and transferred the case to Federal District Court in South Dakota.

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In November 2011, the United States Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the U.S. District Court of South Dakota’s dismissal of the environmentalists’ lawsuit that sought to block implementation of the timber management plan for the Norbeck Wildlife preserve area in the Black Hills.

“We can now appropriately continue with the Norbeck forestry plan to preserve our forest,” said Jackley. “Without immediate action to counter the pine beetle infestation, our forest and wildlife remain at risk.”

The other challenge to the overall forest plan remains ongoing in federal court in Wyoming. The State of South Dakota has successfully intervened into the latest litigation over the Black Hills Forest Land and Resource Management Plan recently filed by environmentalist in the U.S. District Court of Wyoming. Environmental groups are seeking to invalidate and delay the U.S. Forest Service forest plan in South Dakota and Wyoming. Part of the litigation centers upon certain site-specific projects that are designed to address the devastating effects of the pine beetle epidemic this is occurring in the Black Hills.

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The States of South Dakota and Wyoming have intervened in this action asserting sovereign and economic interests within the Black Hills National Forest that would be harmed by a decision in the environmentalist favor.

Final arguments in this case are scheduled for July in Casper, Wyoming.

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