Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

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abandoned scientific protections for federal public lands in western Oregon and would have opened up those lands to outdated boom-and-bust logging.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 Now they will no longer be haunted by an outdated, unbalanced plan," she said.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.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Atlantic puffins courting at Maine Coastal Island National Wildlife Refuge in 2009. USFWS / Flickr

When Europeans first arrived in North America, Atlantic puffins were common on islands in the Gulf of Maine. But hunters killed many of the birds for food or for feathers to adorn ladies' hats. By the 1800s, the population in Maine had plummeted.

Read More Show Less
Rescue workers dig through the rubble following a gas explosion in Baltimore, Maryland on Aug. 10, 2020. J. Countess / Getty Images

A "major" natural gas explosion killed two people and seriously injured at least seven in Baltimore, Maryland Monday morning.

Read More Show Less
The recalled list includes red, yellow, white and sweet yellow onions, which may be tainted with salmonella. Pxhere

Nearly 900 people across the U.S. and Canada have been sickened by salmonella linked to onions distributed by Thomson International, the The New York Times reported.

Read More Show Less
Methane flares at a fracking site near a home in Colorado on Oct. 25, 2014. WildEarth Guardians / Flickr

In the coming days, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to use its power to roll back yet another Obama-era environmental protection meant to curb air pollution and slow the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
Researchers on the ICESCAPE mission, funded by NASA, examine melt ponds and their surrounding ice in 2011 to see how changing conditions in the Arctic affect the biological and chemical makeup of the ocean. NASA / Flickr

By Alex Kirby

The temperature of the Arctic matters to the entire world: it helps to keep the global climate fairly cool. Scientists now say that by 2035 there could be an end to Arctic sea ice.

Read More Show Less
President Vladimir Putin is seen enjoying the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

Russia's Health Ministry has given regulatory approval for the world's first COVID-19 vaccine after less than two months of human testing, President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A John Deere agricultural tractor sits under a collapsed building following a derecho storm on Aug. 10, 2020 near Franklin Grove, Illinois. Daniel Acker / Getty Images

A powerful series of thunderstorms roared across the Midwest on Monday, downing trees, damaging structures and knocking out power to more than a million people.

Read More Show Less