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Oregon environmental group sues US Forest Service over fire retardant

In this photo provided by the Bootleg Fire Incident Command, a plane drops retardant near Mitchell Monument in the Bootleg Fire, July 19, 2021.
Bootleg Fire Incident Command
/
InciWeb
In this photo provided by the Bootleg Fire Incident Command, a plane drops retardant near Mitchell Monument in the Bootleg Fire, July 19, 2021.

Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics claims the agency is violating the Clean Water Act.

An environmental group based in Eugene filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service for its practice of dropping fire retardant by air to fight wildfires.

The Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics claims the agency is violating the Clean Water Act with unpermitted releases of fire retardant into waterways.

Andy Stahl is the executive director of the organization. He questions the effectiveness of dropping flame retardant by air to contain wildfires.

“We lose pilots every year. And that trade-off might make sense,” Stahl said. “It might be worth killing a pilot if you were saving communities and homes and might be worth killing fish and polluting water if doing so saved forests and communities and homes. The fact is it doesn’t.”

This is the third lawsuit regarding aerial fire retardant that the group has filed against the agency.

A U.S. Forest Service spokesperson said the agency does not comment on pending or ongoing litigation.

Stahl spoke to “Think Out Loud” host Dave Miller about the complaint.
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Elizabeth Castillo