Appeals court upholds ruling stopping logging in Ore. case

Associated Press Writer
Capital Press

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) - July 24, 2007 - Bush administration efforts to boost salvage logging after wildfires suffered a loss Tuesday when a federal appeals court upheld a ruling that had stopped harvest of burned trees in an old-growth forest reserve on federal lands in southern Oregon.

The 2-1 ruling by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling by U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken in Eugene that stopped the U.S. Bureau of Land Management from logging 23.4 million board feet of timber from 961 acres burned by the Timbered Rock fire outside Medford in 2002.

The appeals court found that BLM's plan to harvest dead and dying trees violated its own management plans and a mandate to maintain and preserve old-growth forest ecosystems, including trees killed by fire, under the Northwest Forest Plan, which was adopted in 1994 to protect habitat for northern spotted owls, salmon and other species.

The court also found that BLM violated the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to adequately analyze the cumulative environmental damage from scraping 33 miles of fire line and dropping 40,000 gallons of chemical retardant on the area to put out the fire, and the harvest of 6,000 acres of dead trees on neighboring private timberlands owned by Boise Corp.

In a similar case on the 2002 Biscuit fire outside Grants Pass, a different federal judge upheld a U.S. Forest Service plan that involved salvage logging in old-growth forest reserves and roadless areas.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press.


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