Home / The Lawsuit / Chilton Ranch Lawsuit History
There was a long history of problems between the Center and the Chiltons, including prior lawsuits, and a complaint to the Forrest service that had been shown to be false. On June 5, 2001, Dr. Martin Taylor, the director of the Center for Biological Diversity, wrote a letter to Keith Graves with the U.S. Forest Service complaining about the Montana Allotment. Dr. Taylor alleges that there are 2 breaks in a fence, recent cattle grazing and manure, and broken agave stalks.
The day after the Center complained to the Forest Service, a Forest Service representative visited the locations referenced in the Center's complaint and prepared an inspection report. On June 13, 2001, the Forest Service sent a response letter to the Center noting that there were no grazing violations. Further, the Forest Service found no breaks in the fence and no agave in the area. Finally, the Forest Service noted that the manure found by the Center was more than 1 year old. The results of the Forest Service inspection were verified by a simultaneous inspection conducted by non-Forest Service personnel.
On June 19, 2001, the Chilton's attorney sent a letter to Dr. Taylor demanding that he retract the false statements made in his letter to the Forest Service. The demand was ignored. The Center ignored this request. On June 26, 2001, Dr. Taylor sent a second letter to the Forest Service. This letter restated many of the same allegations that the Forest Service had already found to be unsubstantiated.
The Chiltons faced the choice of responding to repeated attacks or just giving up like most previous victims. They chose to respond to the false and malicious charges typified by the previously mentioned letter sent to the Forest Service by Center for Biological Diversity on June 5, 2001. The Chilton’s response letter expresses their well-founded objection to the Center’s effort to wipe out the Chilton’s entire investment in their carefully managed forest allotment.