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Environmentalists challenge logging plans over threatened murrelet

Three environmental groups intend to take Oregon's Department of Forestry to court over the effect logging has on a threatened seabird.

The marbled murrelet spends much of its time over the ocean – but it nests in older forests. The Center for Biological Diversity, Audubon Society of Portland, and Cascadia Wildlands argue that logging plans for three state forests would harm the bird's nesting habitat, in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

"It's our belief, and belief of marbled murrelet experts, that the aggressive clear-cutting of older forests is contributing to 'take' under the Endangered Species Act – and that includes threatening, harassing, harming, or even killing, the species," Josh Laughlin of Cascadia Wildlands in Eugene.

The groups can file the actual lawsuit in 60 days.

Oregon officials have said that newly revised plans for the Clatsop, Tillamook, and Elliott State Forests protect the environment and will better achieve economic goals.


Rob Manning has been both a reporter and an on-air host at OPB. Before that, he filled both roles with local community station KBOO and nationally with Free Speech Radio News. He's also published freelance print stories with Portland's alternative weekly newspaper Willamette Week and Planning Magazine. In 2007, Rob received two awards for investigative reporting from the Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists, and he was part of the award-winning team responsible for OPB's "Hunger Series." His current beats range from education to the environment, sports to land-use planning, politics to housing.
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