February 6, 2008 in City

Judge denies challenge to marbled murrelet

Associated Press The Spokesman-Review

GRANTS PASS, Ore. – The timber industry has lost the latest round in the long-running court fight over the marbled murrelet, one of several threatened species that were targets of political pressure by the Bush administration.

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., denied an American Forest Resource Council challenge to a decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to leave the marbled murrelet on the threatened species list.

In a ruling on procedural grounds, U.S. District Judge John D. Bates found that the timber industry failed to show there was any concrete action to challenge – the five-year review of the bird’s status that was being challenged amounted to a recommendation, and there had been no change in the bird’s status.

Conservation groups said they hope this is the end of efforts to deny protection to the marbled murrelet, which is declining in numbers from California to Alaska.

American Forest Resource Council Vice President Chris West said they are reviewing the ruling, and may adopt a new course and directly petition to have the bird taken off the list.

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