Judge Releases For Sale Disputed Timber Stands
About half the timber sale units locked in a battle over nesting habitat for the marbled murrelet will be released for logging in the next two weeks unless environmentalists and the government can get an appeals court to stop it.
Not wanting to “trump” the intent of Congress to speed up logging on Northwest national forests under the so-called salvage rider, U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan issued an order late Wednesday putting 77 of the 147 sale units on a schedule for release.
Last January, Hogan had thrown out the scientific protocol used by the U.S. Forest Service to decide whether the elusive birds, which are a threatened species, are actually nesting in a stand of timber. He imposed a more stringent standard, making it harder to declare tracts off-limits to logging.
In Oregon, the timber sales are located on the Siskiyou and Siuslaw national forests and the Coos Bay District of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. In Washington, they are on the Olympic and Mount Baker-Snoqualmie national forests.
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