Thursday, June 4, 2009

DU Environmental Law Clinic Sues Federal Government to Stop Proposed Logging in Southern Colorado

On Tuesday, the DU College of Law Environmental Law Clinic filed suit against the U.S. government in an effort to stop a proposed logging project involving southern Colorado lands situated around the headwaters of the Rio Grande river.

Under the direction of Mike Harris, Environmental Clinic Director, law student Jacob Schlesinger and clinic fellow Ashley Wilmes prepared the suit that alleges that a proposed 3,500 acre timber project in the Rio Grande National Forest near Alamosa, Colorado, will negatively impact areas already under stress from an on-going spruce budworm infestation and clear-cutting. The suit alleges that if the logging operation is allowed to go ahead, there will be continued soil damage that will harm the flow of water to the Rio Grande and have a negative impact on downstream communities.

Mr. Harris said, "The Forest Service's timber project, which amounts to an illegal 'chop the trees to save the forest' plan, will be a major setback for ongoing soil and timber recovery, which in turn will directly impact the quality of the Rio Grande."

The action was filed on behalf of two environmental groups, Colorado Wild and WildEarth Guardians.

The opportunity for students to work with nationally recognized environmental protection leaders like Mike Harris and the environmental law clinic is just one more reason that the graduate program is considered one of the best of its kind in the world.

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