Congress is back in session this week. The House will discuss two proposals that would increase logging in federal forests to raise money for struggling timber counties.
Washington Republican Doc Hastings chairs the House Natural Resource committee. Hastings says Northwest timber counties are running out of money. And it’s difficult for them to raise revenue given their depressed economies.
The Supreme Court today decided in favor of the timber industry in a case about the regulation of muddy waters that flow off logging roads. In a surprising move, one of the court’s conservative justices dissented, and sided with the environmentalists.
Environmental groups in Oregon filed the case.
They argued that muddy water flowing from ditches into forest streams, harms fish, and should be considered industrial pollution.
In a 7-1 decision the Court said it would defer to the Environmental Protection Agency’s read of the law.
The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Monday in a case from Oregon over water pollution from logging roads. But a last minute rule change may have made the case moot.
Attorneys involved in the case say that at 5 pm last Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a new rule trying to clarify that the runoff from logging roads should not be considered industrial pollution.
A federal judge has granted a preliminary injunction halting 11 timber sales in Oregon’s state forests. The state is being sued by three conservation groups who say the logging projects imperil a federally protected seabird.
US District Judge Ann Aiken granted the injunction Monday. It halts 11 timber sales in the Tillamook, Clatsop and Elliott State Forests that are home to the threatened Marbled Murrelet.
Before the recession hit, the sawmill in the North Idaho town of Laclede was known for its reliability. It had never seen a shutdown, not in Steve Spletstoser’s nearly 30 years of working there. Then came 2008.
It was really eye-opening to see,” Spletstoser says. “Your livelihood is hanging in the balance.” Day after day, the mill cut lumber, and day after day it piled up. Very little left the lot.
In Idaho, the timber and ag industries are heavy hitters. They play big roles in the state’s history and identity. But the recession has dealt them different hands, dividing rural Idaho into winners and losers. StateImpact Idaho takes a look at two industries, two counties, and two economic fates.