Environmental Group Fights Delay In Marbled Murrelet Habitat Protections – Earthfix


For those who may not have been here in the 70s and 80s, the Marbled Murrelett and the Spotted Owl have been the indicator species that triggered limits on harvest of the remaining old growth forest on the Olympic Peninsula (there was less than 5% remaining of it when the Federal Government stopped harvest due to habitat destruction to these birds). Since the 80s, the timber industry has done all it can to remove these protections, as the remaining timber is very valuable, and unavailable for harvest at this point, but the environmental legal teams have been able to prove to the courts scientifically that cutting more would mean the loss of the birds here. The battle is far from over, as this story from Earthfix shows. How much is at stake is an open debate point, and the issue has been used to inflame rural communities that were suffering from loss of timber jobs since the late 70s. The story that has never been adequately covered is that the loss of these jobs were heavily influence by the very companies that criticized the rules, as they had got Congress to open the shipping of raw logs to Japan. Smaller outdated mills could not compete, or afford to change. Also advancements in mechanized cutting came in at the same time, making many jobs obsolete. The story of the “spotted owl” is so much more complex than it was presented. And so, the 2013 chapter of the ongoing drama over the “Spotted Owl”.

An environmental group has stopped an agreement between the timber industry and federal wildlife officials that would have delayed new protections for a threatened seabird. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service settled with the timber industry group, the American Forest Resource Council, last summer, to avoid a legal battle over for the marbled murrelet. The industry group argued that maps of protected areas called “critical habitat” had been done improperly. Fish and Wildlife agreed to suspend the current maps ­ but draft new ones. But, that agreement, and the protracted timeline ­ that it would take five years ­ drew a legal challenge from the Center for Biological Diversity. Rob Manning reports.

http://earthfix.kcts9.org/flora-and-fauna/article/environmental-group-fights-delay-in-marbled-murrel/

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