Decides to Withdraw Approved
Timber Sale in Cherokee National Forest
The Forest Service has decided to withdraw its decision to log certain stands in the Broad Shoals Creek (otherwise known as California Creek) drainage of the Nolichucky River. The withdrawal came after SELC filed suit today against the U.S. Forest Service for approving a timber sale in the Cherokee National Forest that would pollute streams already too dirty to meet Tennessees water quality standards. The suit, filed in federal district court on behalf of the Cherokee Forest Voices and a Knoxville resident, is intended to force the agency to comply with a key section of the federal Clean Water Act.
Last year, the Forest Service approved a 131-acre timber sale on Rich Mountain in Unicoi County, an area of the national forest frequented by Knoxville resident Ray Payne and members of Cherokee Forest Voices for hiking, fishing, wildlife viewing and other activities. The sale involves several large clearcuts and approximately 1.5 miles of road construction or repair on steep terrain that would result in significant sedimentation of the Nolichucky River and Broad Shoals Creek, the main streams draining the area. Both waterways are listed by Tennessee as already too polluted to meet state water quality standards.
Under section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act, states must identify streams that are too dirty for fishing, swimming, drinking or sustaining aquatic wildlife, and then develop plans to clean them up. Once a stream is listed, the federal government cannot contribute additional sources of the pollutant. Tennessee has listed the Nolichucky River and its tributary, Broad Shoals Creek, for excessive sedimentation.