Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Federal Judge Puts Final Nail in Coffin of Bush-Era Logging Plan

Federal Judge Puts Final Nail in Coffin of Bush-Era Logging Plan

Western Environmental Law Center

On March 20, a federal court in Oregon formally struck down a Bush-era plan that abandoned scientific protections for federal public lands in western Oregon and would have opened up those lands to outdated boom-and-bust logging. The plan, called the Western Oregon Plan Revision (known as WOPR and pronounced “whopper”) would have dramatically increased logging on about 2.6 million acres of federal public forests in Oregon managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

The ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed by Earthjustice and Western Environmental Law Center on behalf of nine conservation and commercial fishing organizations.

“This ruling is the final nail in WOPR’s coffin,” said Kristen Boyles, an attorney with Earthjustice. “These public forests protect our climate, provide us with clean water, and sustain world class salmon runs and recreational opportunities that contribute to Oregon’s diverse economy. Now they will no longer be haunted by an outdated, unbalanced plan," she said.

The court decision coincided with the recent announcement that the Obama administration intends to develop its own plan for these federal lands. The Obama BLM has asked for public input into the new plan.

“Together we defeated WOPR because BLM scorned the best science,” said Joseph Vaile of Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center. “Now its time for us to be part of the solution, helping shape how our public forests will be managed for years to come.”

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Anna Brown found that WOPR was finalized without the required evaluation of federal fish and wildlife scientists on its impacts on threatened and endangered species. Judge Brown vacated WOPR and reinstated the protective standards and requirements of the Northwest Forest Plan.

Judge Brown’s ruling confirms a September 2011 recommendation by U.S. Magistrate Judge Hubel that WOPR be found illegal and vacated.

Earthjustice and Western Environmental Law Center represent Pacific Rivers Council, Oregon Wild, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, The Wilderness Society, Cascadia Wildlands, Center for Biological Diversity, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, Institute for Fisheries Resources and Umpqua Watersheds as plaintiffs in this case.

For more information, click here.

Radiation-contaminated water tanks and damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Feb. 25, 2016 in Okuma, Japan. Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

Japan will release radioactive wastewater from the failed Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean, the government announced on Tuesday.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Antarctica's Thwaites Glacier, aka the doomsday glacier, is seen here in 2014. NASA / Wikimedia Commons / CC0

Scientists have maneuvered an underwater robot beneath Antarctica's "doomsday glacier" for the first time, and the resulting data is not reassuring.

Read More Show Less
Trending
Journalists film a protest by the environmental organization BUND at the Datteln coal-fired power plant in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany on April 23, 2020. Bernd Thissen / picture alliance via Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

Lead partners of a global consortium of news outlets that aims to improve reporting on the climate emergency released a statement on Monday urging journalists everywhere to treat their coverage of the rapidly heating planet with the same same level of urgency and intensity as they have the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read More Show Less
Airborne microplastics are turning up in remote regions of the world, including the remote Altai mountains in Siberia. Kirill Kukhmar / TASS / Getty Images

Scientists consider plastic pollution one of the "most pressing environmental and social issues of the 21st century," but so far, microplastic research has mostly focused on the impact on rivers and oceans.

Read More Show Less
A laborer works at the site of a rare earth metals mine at Nancheng county, Jiangxi province, China on Oct. 7, 2010. Jie Zhao / Corbis via Getty Images

By Michel Penke

More than every second person in the world now has a cellphone, and manufacturers are rolling out bigger, better, slicker models all the time. Many, however, have a bloody history.

Read More Show Less