Environment

Forest Service Promises Review Of Fish-Killing Fire Retardant

OPB | Aug. 23, 2007 8:29 a.m. | Updated: July 17, 2012 1:19 a.m. | Salem, OR

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By Chris Lehman

Forest Service Chief Mark Rey says jail time isn’t necessary to force his agency to complete an environmental review. The commotion follows a lawsuit filed by an Oregon group. Correspondent Chris Lehman reports.



A group called Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics out of Eugene sued the Forest Service. At issue was the agency’s use of fish-killing flame retardant to put out wild fires.

As part of the case, a Federal judge ordered the Forest Service to analyze the environmental impact of the practice. But the agency hasn’t done that review. So now a judge threatening to find Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey in contempt of court if the Forest Service doesn’t finish the assessment by mid-October. That could land Rey behind bars. Rey says the judge won’t have to take that step:

Mark Rey: “He’s unhappy that the extension was needed. We’re not happy the extension was needed. We’re going to meet the deadline. I don’t think the problems will extend beyond that.”

Rey says the review is taking longer than expected because it involves coordination between three Federal agencies.

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