Ground Truth: FSEEE in the News

FSEEE Fire Retardant Lawsuit Fuels Media Coverage

FSEEE’s recently filed lawsuit — which seeks to stop the Forest Service from polluting waterways with aerial fire retardant and force the agency to adhere to the Clean Water Act — has received a flurry of media attention.

E&E News characterizes our lawsuit as “the latest chapter in an extended campaign by FSEEE to curtail the use of aerial retardants and to require the Forest Service to obtain permits under the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System, or NPDES.”

Multiple media outlets have interviewed FSEEE Executive Director Andy Stahl, including the Associated Press and affiliates of ABC, NBC, CBS and NPR.

An Associated Press report quotes Andy as saying the chemicals in fire retardant are “simply too toxic at the levels used fighting fires.”

In a clip from a Zoom interview aired by NBC Montana, Andy characterized the Forest Service approach to firefighting: “When it’s fighting a fire, it’s in a war. That’s the way the Forest Service mentality views fighting fire. It’s a war, and collateral damage is just a part of business as usual.”

“Wind-driven fires during droughts are unstoppable,” Andy said in another clip, posted by Central Oregon Daily News. “If you’ve got a high wind, and you’ve got drought, you’re going to have big fires. And retardant will make no difference whatsoever.”

So, it’s not just that fire retardant kills fish and other sensitive wildlife species, but that retardant doesn’t actually work.

“Its use might be justified if retardant made any difference to fire outcomes. There’s no evidence it does,” Andy told E&E News. “That makes the environmental trade-offs not worth it.”

Click here for a copy of FSEEE’s federal complaint against the Forest Service.

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