Ohio Environmental Council

Ohio Environmental Council

"Sunny Oaks” logging project partially halted, court rules to protect 1,500 acres of trees in Wayne National Forest
Photo Caption
Stacked timber logs in the forests of Emerald Bay
Photo Credit
Meritt Thomas

Nearly 1,500 acres of trees in the Wayne National Forest will remain standing after federal district court ordered a partial injunction in Ohio Environmental Council vs. United States Forest Service, the OEC’s ongoing legal case to protect Ohio’s only national forest from commercial logging. In March, the court ruled the “Sunny Oaks” logging project violated the National Environmental Policy Act and held that its environmental effects are “highly uncertain.”

The Sunny Oaks project intended to target nearly 2,500 acres of the Wayne National Forest for heavy commercial logging — by far the largest logging project proposed for the Wayne in the last 30 years. Sunny Oaks was announced in 2018, on the heels of a dramatic increase in the Wayne’s timber quota. The OEC filed suit against the project in 2021.

The following quote can be attributed, in whole or in part, to Nathan Johnson, Senior Attorney of Land and Water for the Ohio Environmental Council (OEC):

“Today’s ruling is an important legal win for government accountability and the environment. The court halted major portions of the Sunny Oaks logging project and ordered the U.S. Forest Service to conduct additional environmental analysis. Today’s injunction will protect nearly 1,500 acres of national forest while the court-ordered environmental review proceeds.”

“Environmental planning for the Sunny Oaks Project lacks essential data and analysis needed to protect oak ecosystems. The project’s flawed analysis, combined with its focus on heavy commercial timbering, threatens to destroy and degrade the oak ecosystems it targets. The project area’s magnificent white oak population — ideal habitat for the endangered Indiana bat — is especially vulnerable if the project moves forward.”

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