PIERRE, S.D. - South Dakota Attorney General Marty J. Jackley announces that the Federal District Court of Colorado has transferred venue of the litigation over the Norbeck Wildlife and Timber Management Project to the District of South Dakota.
On September 3, 2010, environmentalists filed a lawsuit in the Federal District Court in Colorado against the United States Forest Service over the Norbeck Wildlife Project scheduled for this fall and winter. On October 12, 2010, the State of South Dakota filed a motion to intervene into the litigation and to move venue to South Dakota. The goal of the Norbeck project is to improve habitat conditions for game animals and birds on National Forest System land within the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve and to reduce the risk and consequence of fire escaping from the Black Hills Wilderness. In the densely forested Norbeck area, mountain pine beetles have caused heavy mortality of stands of Ponderosa Pine, with the Forest Service estimating fire hazard at 77% or more in the Norbeck Project area.
In granting the request to change venue to South Dakota, Senior United States District Judge John L. Kane, determined that consideration of convenience and the interest of justice weighed in favor of transferring the case to South Dakota. He concluded, “I find the considerable local interest in the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve most influential....South Dakota has a unique stake in the management of the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve.”
“I am pleased that the federal court recognized that South Dakota has an interest in containing the impacts of the mountain pine beetle epidemic to wildlife and to reduce the risk of fire hazard to local communities,” stated Attorney General Marty Jackley.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, October 21, 2010
CONTACT: Paige Wilbur, (605) 773-3215