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Protecting the environment by providing legal services for forest cases of statewide significance.

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ALPS v. Washington State Dept of Ecology

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This case challenges the Washington State Department of Ecology's 2003 revision of some of its State Environmental Policy Act rules.

COURT INFORMATION:  Washington State Supreme Court No. 79993-8; Washington State Court of Appeals No. 32047-9-II; Thurston County Superior Court No. 03-2-01681-8

CLIENTS:  Alpine Lakes Protection Society, Friends of the Loomis Forest, Kettle Range Conservation Group, The Mountaineers, Northwest Ecosystem Alliance, Peninsula Neighborhood Association, Seattle Audubon Society, Washington Environmental Council, Washington Wilderness Coalition, Whidbey Environmental Action Network

STATUS:  The Washington State Supreme Court denied review in February 2008, terminating the case.



This case challenged the Washington State Department of Ecology’s revision of some of its State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) rules in 2003, rules that the Forest Practices Board adopted more than 15 years ago.  Ecology repealed provisions of its SEPA rules that authorized and required the Department of Natural Resources to consider whether logging under a forest practices permit application is related to past and future permits for purposes of determining the cumulative impact of the multiple related permits. 

Ecology repealed its rules after Plum Creek Timber Company argued that Ecology did not have the “authority” to promulgate SEPA rules requiring SEPA review of “connected” or “related” forest practices permits.

WFLC argued that Ecology HAD the authority to make its SEPA rules apply to piece-mealed forest practices permits.  In 2004, the Thurston County Superior Court affirmed Ecology's rulemaking repealing its rules.  The Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court's decision in October 2006 (read the Published Opinion).  Plaintiffs' appealed the decision to the Washington State Supreme Court, which denied review in February 2008.

Click here to learn how this case is related to our other cumulative effects cases.