It’s been more than 30 years since EPIC first entered the courtroom to challenge the degradation of public lands and the government’s failure to enforce environmental laws. Since that time, we have filed more than 70 lawsuits on behalf of the native species and wildlands of Northern California. The Journal of Forestry reports that EPIC had the highest success rate in court among “parties opposing the U.S. Forest Service … from 1989 to 2005.” During that time, EPIC won approximately 65 percent of its cases, a staggering rate of success when compared to similar organizations.
EPIC’s litigation has protected old-growth-dependent wildlife from the cumulative loss of redwood and Douglas fir forest habitat. Most of our cases involve private forestlands in our region, the North Coast of California, but many have affected statewide forestry policy and have set both state and national legal precedents. Of particular importance are EPIC v. Johnson #1, Sierra Club and EPIC v. Board of Forestry #5, and Marbled Murrelet and EPIC v. Pacific Lumber #18. EPIC’s litigation has challenged corporate timber practices and negligent governmental oversight, leading to temporary protection of the largest remaining groves of ancient redwoods, stronger implementation of environmental regulations, and reform of forestry policy.
We have filed 15 lawsuits involving the ancient and residual old-growth groves of Headwaters Forest, and we moved to intervene in Pacific Lumber’s private property rights lawsuit against the United States of America. Many of our cases have been filed with the Sierra Club, individuals, or watershed groups as co-plaintiffs. We have joined six coalition lawsuits, with dozens of fisheries and environmental groups, to seek the listing and protection of endangered anadromous fish species under federal and state Endangered Species Acts. We believe success is measured in the outcome and influence of our efforts.