Sheep Producers File Suit Over Payette Decision
September 21, 2012

The Idaho Wool Growers Association, American Sheep Industry Association, Public Lands Council, Wyoming Wool Growers Association and Colorado Wool Growers Association filed suit in federal court challenging the 2010 Record of Decision (ROD) by the U.S. Forest Service to close nearly 70 percent of the Payette National Forest to sheep grazing. 
 
The decision to reduce sheep grazing was based on the theory that contact between domestic sheep and bighorns under range conditions results in the transmission of fatal pathogens from domestic sheep to bighorns 100 percent of the time. 
 
The suit states that the Payette's 2010 decision was flawed with procedural defects and an inadequate record basis. It charges that the forest service failed to comply with the Federal Advisory Committee Act in establishing a bighorn sheep science committee, which committee's report was relied upon by the forest service in developing the ROD and final supplemental environmental impact statement. Also, the suit states that the forest service used unsupported modeling methods, did not obtain adequate relevant information and did not adequately discuss mitigation measures in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Administrative Procedures Act.