Federal judge stops Weyerhaeuser logging in spotted owl habitat

03:40 PM PDT on Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Associated Press
King 5 News

SEATTLE, WA - A federal judge in Seattle has issued a preliminary injunction to stop the Weyerhaeuser Company from logging in spotted owl habitat on four parcels of private land in Washington state.

U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman did not grant, however, an additional request by the Seattle Audubon Society to stop the state of Washington from granting permits to log in spotted owl habitat.

The injunction from logging covers spotted owl habitat within 2.7 miles of the center of four circles of private land in southwestern Washington.
A spokesman for the Washington Forest Law Center, Kenan Block, said Pechman's decision shows the Endangered Species Act still has some teeth in it.

Representatives from Weyerhaeuser did not immediately return telephone requests for comment on the decision.

The owl was declared a threatened species in 1990 due primarily to heavy logging in the old growth forests where it nests and feeds. While old growth forests suitable for owl habitat have increased, owl numbers have continued to decline, according to recent research. The spotted owl also faces a new threat from a cousin, the barred owl, that has been invading its territory.



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