LEWISTON, Idaho — A northern Idaho logging project in the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest is back on following a court ruling.
The Lewiston Tribune reported that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday refused to halt the Little Slate Project. But the court also directed the case be scheduled on the court calendar at the first available date.
“I don’t see that as being as bad as it could have been,” said Gary Macfarlane, ecosystem defense director for Friends of the Clearwater in Moscow. “I think what they are trying to (do) is prioritize. We expect to get heard soon.”
The environmental group appealed a lower court’s ruling denying an injunction to halt logging. The group contends the project violates environmental laws intended to protect threatened Canada lynx and other species.
Mark Craig of the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest said logging will resume Monday on the Moon Shine Timber Sale and within a week on the Ruby Timber Sale.
“Right now it looks like a very strong look for us going forward that they didn’t hold us up,” Craig said of the ruling. “We really see it as a positive side of the whole outcome.”
Work stopped last month after the appeals court issued a temporary injunction. That came after U.S. Magistrate Mikel Williams rejected a lawsuit filed by the environmental groups last fall and then declined to rule promptly on a request by the groups for an injunction to stop the logging.
The appeals court gave the lower court seven days to make a decision, and the lower court denied the injunction. The environmental group appealed again.
The appeals court then made its most recent ruling on the matter, refusing to halt the logging.
The U.S. Forest Service says the project will produce about 40 million board feet of timber while restoring fish habitat.