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.