Idaho officials have filed court documents to intervene in a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service brought by a northern Idaho couple and an environmental group, the AP reports; the state Board of Land Commissioners and Idaho Department of Lands made the filing in U.S. District Court.
Idaho officials contend the state has a substantial interest to intervene because the lawsuit seeks to block a road that's the only access to a salvage timber project on state land, writes AP reporter Keith Ridler. Idaho officials say the wildfire-damaged trees will lose value and are prone to insect infestation. The state Department of Lands also announced the previously canceled timber sale for the area has been rescheduled for Friday in Kamiah.
"We are confident that the eventual timber sale purchaser has the right of access to the state parcel without the need for Forest Service approval," said Tom Schultz, state lands director. Laird Lucas, an attorney at Advocates for the West who is representing Idaho Rivers United, said Wednesday that he's preparing paperwork seeking an injunction to prevent the use of the road until the federal court rules on the initial lawsuit. You can read Ridler’s full report here.