FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 23, 2001
Barry Rosenberg, Kootenai Environmental Alliance; The Lands Council (208) 443-9051
Tom Woodbury, attorney for the plaintiffs, (208) 331-4566
Kathy Anderson, Ranger, Priest Lake Ranger District, (208) 443-2512
FOREST SERVICE VIOLATES BEETLE SALE INJUNCTION
Priest Lake, Idaho -- Conservationists discovered that trees are still
being cut on the Douglas-fir Beetle Project timber sales in blatant
violation of the preliminary injunction recently issued by the Ninth
Circuit Court of Appeals.
Barry Rosenberg, former director of the Forest Watch Program for The Lands
Council, and current board member of the Kootenai Environmental Alliance
(KEA), was alerted on Tuesday that large green trees were being cut on one
of the Beetle sale units in the Priest Lake area.
He went up to the area on Wednesday and examined a small portion of Unit 79
of the Flat Moores timber sale. He discovered ten stumps, green limbs and
treetops of newly cut trees on either side of a new skid trail.
Rosenberg also discovered that most of the remaining trees in the unit
slated for cutting are alive. In declarations previously submitted to the
court, the Plaintiffs, The KEA, The Lands Council, The Idaho Sporting
Congress and the Ecology Center, found in their surveys that at least 70%
of the trees being logged were alive. The Forest Service claims that it is
cutting mostly dead and dying trees.
He said he wasn't shocked to find the illegal logging. "This timber sale
has been one of the largest hoaxes ever perpetrated. From the beginning
the Forest Service has deceived the public by exaggerating the magnitude of
the beetle outbreak in order to conduct one of the largest and most
damaging timber sales in the country. Now the agency is not even enforcing
the court ordered injunction."
The Court issued an emergency injunction that stopped logging last February and then, after a full hearing on the matter, issued a decision on August 14th that extended the injunction. The preliminary injunction allows loggers to haul away already downed logs but prohibits further cutting of any trees on the Project until Eastern Washington District Judge Edward F. Shea issues a ruling on the merits of the case.
"Who knows how much illegal logging is continuing in the rest of the units?
The public should not have to monitor the injunction, that's the Forest
Service's job," concluded Rosenberg.
Tom Woodbury, attorney for the plaintiffs said, "We take this matter very seriously. This is contempt of court, a flagrant violation of law and we plan to take this matter to the Court of Appeals immediately."