Judge says sell more timber, BLM holds off
MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has postponed three Oregon timber sales, saying that it needs time to consider a federal court decision that ordered it to sell more timber in Southern Oregon.
However, a timber industry group has filed an emergency motion asking the judge to order the agency to go through with the sales, the Medford Mail Tribune reported Thursday.
Last month, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon in Washington D.C. ruled that the agency couldn't use a computer model to estimate how many threatened spotted owls are in a timber area. The agency hadn't met procedural requirements for public comment before introducing the computer model, the judge said.
He also said the agency hadn't met its goals for logging in the Medford and Roseburg districts.
The bureau said it needed time to consider how to deal with the decision and called off sales in the Medford, Roseburg and Eugene districts.
"The decision by the BLM to refuse to sell these timber sales is basically a slap in the face of the judge," said Scott Horngren, a lawyer for the Portland-based American Forest Resource Council, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
George Sexton of the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, a conservation watchdog group in Ashland, called it "sad and ironic" that one of the delayed sales was in the Josephine County community of Williams. Thinning is aimed at reducing wildfire dangers, and a wildfire recently burned on about 500 acres in the area last week.
Information from: Mail Tribune
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.