Conservationists Say They'll Sue Over Privatization Of State Forest

By Rachael McDonald

Conservation groups want timber companies to know they'll sue if an endangered seabird's habitat is threatened by logging. The groups object to the potential privatization of the Elliott State Forest in Oregon's coast range.

The state of Oregon is in the process of selling almost 3 thousand acres of public land in the Elliott State Forest. Conservation groups are afraid that timber companies will buy the land and log it. Much of the forest is home to an endangered bird, the Marbled murrelet. Josh Laughlin is with Cascadia Wildlands, one of three groups that has filed notice of intent to sue.

Laughlin: "Our effort is to put the timber industry on notice and let them know that we are going to prosecute them for violation of the Endangered Species Act if they plan to clearcut these stands of marbled murrelet habitat."

The state is selling parcels of the Elliott after conservation groups successfully prevented timber sales in marbled murrelet habitat. The state manages its forests to raise money for the Common School Fund. The deadline for bids on the Elliott parcels is March 28th.

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