LEWISTON – A federal court has ruled an Idaho logging project designed to reduce fire risk at a tiny mountain community can move forward.
Environmental group Friends of the Clearwater asked a judge to grant a temporary injunction, but the request was denied, the Lewiston Tribune reported.
“The forest worked very hard on this project and I’m pleased with the court’s decision,” said Cheryl Probert, supervisor of the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest.
The national forest’s Orogrande Community Protection Project calls for logging on about 300 acres and the construction of six miles of temporary road. Fire has threatened the community of Orogrande a number of times throughout the past decade, and the logging project is designed to reduce that threat by removing all but about 15 to 25 trees per acre within the logging area.
The environmental group has argued the logging and temporary road will be visible for 10 to 20 years and might affect how the agency or Congress considers the area’s worthiness for designation as wilderness. The group claims the agency previously ruled in other cases that logging and road building in areas without roads was either not allowed or that because it was, the affected area no longer qualified for consideration as wilderness. The group said its members would be irreparably harmed if logging is allowed while the case progresses.
Judge Ronald E. Bush, however, largely rejected that argument, saying the group did not meet standards for injunctive relief. Bush also said those other projects were different in context and intensity.
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