Federal Judge Greenlights Controversial Forest Restoration Project In Northeastern Washington
On Thursday, a U.S. District Court Judge in Spokane gave the green light to a controversial forest restoration project on Washington’s Colville National Forest.
In 2016, Montana-based Alliance for the Wild Rockies filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service. They said the agency violated three federal laws by allowing Colville-based Vaagen Brothers Timber Company to take on a restoration project from start to finish, or, as it’s called, “A to Z.”
The project required a lengthy, federal environmental analysis. Vaagen Brothers hired a third-party company to help.
Many environmental groups hailed the effort as a collaboration and a way for an agency, bogged down by red tape and limited by meager funds to improve forest health. The Alliance called it “a conflict of interest” and argued that Vaagen Brothers was privatizing management of public lands.
In a summary judgment, a U.S. District Court judge found no conflict of interest. She also found the third-party contractor maintained the integrity and objectivity of the federally mandated environmental review.
In the decades since government restrictions reduced logging on federal lands, the timber industry has promoted the idea that private lands are less prone to wildfires, saying that forests thick with trees fuel bigger, more destructive blazes. But an analysis by OPB and ProPublica shows last month’s fires burned as intensely on private forests with large-scale logging operations as they did, on average, on federal lands that cut fewer trees. Continue Reading Despite What The Logging Industry Says, Cutting Down Trees Isn’t Stopping Catastrophic Wildfires
New research suggests that a U.S. Forest Service proposal to allow the cutting of larger trees on public lands east of the Cascades in Oregon and Washington will have an outsized impact on forest carbon storage in the Pacific Northwest. Continue Reading Inland Northwest Trees Are Playing An Outsized Role In Curbing Climate Change, Study Says
This latest rollback proposal, issued Tuesday, comes from the Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region. It would end a 25-year-old provision that prevents logging of trees that exceed 21 inches in diameter in six national forests across Eastern Oregon and Washington. Continue Reading Rule Protecting The Northwest’s Old-Growth Trees Is Under The Federal Government’s Ax