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State of Alaska v. United States Dep't of Agric.

United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

November 7, 2014

STATE OF ALASKA, APPELLANT
v.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, ET AL., APPELLEES; SOUTHEAST ALASKA CONSERVATION COUNCIL, ET AL., INTERVENOR-APPELLEES

Argued September 18, 2014

Appeals from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. (No. 1:11-cv-01122).

Dario Borghesan, Assistant Attorney General, Alaska Department of Law, argued the cause for appellant. With him on the briefs were Thomas E. Lenhart, Assistant Attorney General, Julie A. Weis, Mark C. Rutzick, and Steven W. Silver.

John M. Schultz was on the brief for amici curiae Southeast Alaska Power Agency, et al. in support of appellant.

John L. Smeltzer, Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, argued the cause for federal appellees. With him on the brief were Robert G. Dreher, Acting Assistant Attorney General, and David C. Shilton, Attorney.

Nathaniel S.W. Lawrence argued the cause for intervenor-appellees Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, et al. With him on the brief were Thomas S. Waldo and Eric P. Jorgensen.

Before: ROGERS and KAVANAUGH, Circuit Judges, and WILLIAMS, Senior Circuit Judge.

OPINION

KAVANAUGH, Circuit Judge:

The United States Forest Service is an agency within the Department of Agriculture. The Forest Service manages the Nation's forests. In doing so, the Forest Service balances use of forest resources against conservation of the forests.

In January 2001, the Forest Service adopted the Roadless Rule. That rule prohibited road construction, road reconstruction, and timber harvesting on millions of acres of national forest lands, including vast swaths of national forest land in Alaska. See 36 C.F.R. § § 294.10-294.14 (2001); 66 Fed. Reg. 3244, 3244-45 (Jan.

Page 900

12, 2001); 68 Fed. Reg. 75,136, 75,136-39 (Dec. 30, 2003).

In 2005, the Forest Service repealed the Roadless Rule. See 70 Fed. Reg. 25,654, 25,654 (May 13, 2005). But then in 2006, the District Court for the Northern District of California ordered reinstatement of the rule. See Cal. ex rel. Lockyer v. United States Dep't of Agric., 459 F.Supp.2d 874, 916 (N.D. Cal. 2006).

In 2011, the State of Alaska filed this lawsuit challenging the Roadless Rule. A six-year statute of limitations governs Alaska's suit. The statute of limitations runs from the date that " the right of action first accrues." 28 U.S.C. ยง 2401(a) (" every civil action commenced against the United States shall be barred unless the complaint ...


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