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Judge rules against Scott Timber's proposed logging project, citing threat against marbled murrelets

Google Maps, Center for Biological Diversity
Google Maps satellite view of Benson Ridge area, with marbled murrelet (inset.)

A judge has ruled that a private timber company cannot clear-cut a former 49-acre section of the Elliott State Forest.

Today’s decision by U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken determined that logging the Benson Ridge Tract would threaten marbled murrelets, a sea bird that nests in old growth trees.

Nick Cady is with Cascadia Wildlands, one of three groups that took company Scott Timber to court in 2016. He told KLCC that he’s overjoyed at today’s ruling.

“The Endangered Species Act is one of the few environmental laws that applies to private land and federal public land," said Cady. "So this is one of the first times in Oregon where a private timber company logging old growth in Oregon has been held accountable under this federal law, so we’re pretty excited and hope it spurs some further regulatory changes.”

Cady said he hopes the ruling sets precedent for other cases where timber companies try to log areas with threatened wildlife.

Other plaintiffs in the case are Portland Audubon and the Center for Biological Diversity.

Copyright @2022, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.