Biosphere Reserves Do Have Consequences
Many have stated today that Biosphere Reserves are merely honorary and have no impact on land management by federal agencies or private landowners. I wish that they were right.
On May 26, 1998 in the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky a lawsuit was filed by Help Alert Western Kentucky, Inc. against the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). In that suit the plaintiff sought an injunction against TVA for a timber sale in the Land Between the Lake area owned by TVA. One of the reasons cited was that the proposed timber sale was located within a Biosphere Reserve.
One of the counts against TVA in that lawsuit reads as follows:
"In the natural resources management plan and the final environmental impact statement, defendants set aside 42,500 acres of 'undisturbed or minimally disturbed' Biosphere Reserve Core Areas 'devoted essentially to conservation' that 'would undergo natural succession to become old-growth hardwood forests.' Timber sale work area 62 is entirely located within a Biosphere Core Area."
The plaintiffs motion for an injunction was denied at the District Court level in Paducah, Kentucky. However, they have appealed the decision and it is currently pending before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The bottom line is that litigious environmental groups are beginning to use Biosphere Reserve status to stop management of public lands. This just illustrates these designations have teeth in them and should be terminated.
This information sheet was included with the official testimony file distributed by the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Forests and Public Land Management of the Committee on Energy & Natural Resources, for the hearing on May 26, 1999 on S. 510, the American Land Sovereignty Protection Act.