Monday, March 12, 2007

Foiled Again

Once again, a federal agency seeks to act in a fashion that avoids existing statutes. In this instance it is the Forest Service and the subject area contains old growth trees within a designated national forest. Fortunately, the judiciary has stepped in to provide temporary relief.

ENS Link

PORTLAND, Oregon, March 9, 2007 (ENS) - A federal judge has halted the last remaining proposal by the Forest Service to clearcut mature and old-growth forest in Oregon's Mt. Hood National Forest.

On March 3, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Mosman handed down a ruling that killed plans to clearcut 184 acres in the Clackamas River watershed.

Bark, a Portland-based conservation group, had challenged the logging on the grounds that the Forest Service failed to use the best available science to protect old growth wildlife species in developing the timber sale.

Judge Mosman agreed with Bark, cancelling the sale until the Forest Service complies with the law. Judge Mosman’s ruling relied on a basic provision of the National Forest Management Act that requires the Forest Service to use the "best available science" in making management decisions, like authorizing timber sales.

Avoiding the law in the pursuit of rewarding industry has become a consistent practice of this administration. It has become so pervasive that when things go differently, it is cause for surprise.


"The Forest Service ignored its obligation to use the best available science before clearcutting old-growth forests. Judge Mosman’s ruling simply holds the agency accountable to its own requirements." says Erin Madden, an attorney for Bark in this case.

The assault on public lands to benefit private interests will continue, of course. But don't we all benefit from the preservation of these valuable natural resources? Or is it only the profits given to private industry that give pleasure? Yet more reason for public funding of elections.


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