Update: Environmental law case heading to federal appeals court

Protecting the species native to areas is a vital part of protecting the environment; however, there are instances in which it is necessary to look at the impact that actions on the wildlife's habitat will have on humans.

A case that we told you about a few weeks ago is currently working through the appeals court system. It is between a group of environmentalists and the joint effort of the federal government and the Coquille Indian Tribe and shows how complex environmental litigation can be in some cases.

The case has to do with a logging project that is slated to occur on land that is held in trust for the tribe by the federal government. The plan is to do the logging project on 270 acres out of the 5,400 acres in the Oregon forest.

Named the Kokwel project, this logging project would remove approximately 85 to 90 percent of the 80- to 155-year-old trees in the area over a 10-year period. It is expected that this would produce around 14 million board feet of lumber that the tribe would sell to pay for social services. In the previous post, we discussed how environmentalists were considering suing companies that would purchase timber from the project.

Environmentalists, however, aren't convinced that the wildlife in the area can handle that project being completed. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services has determined that the marbled murrelet and northern spotted owl would be adversely affected by this project. The impact, however, isn't thought to put the species in jeopardy.

A federal judge has refused to stop the logging project. The environmentalists have challenged that refusal by filing documents on June 30 with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, so the battle will trudge on.

The fine line between doing what is necessary for humans and what must be done to save wildlife is often unclear. Understanding environmental law so you can stand up for what is right and legal can help when going through this type of litigation.

Source: Capital Press, "Tribal logging case appealed", July 1, 2014

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