A 268-acre timber harvest in the Coquille Forest on the Oregon coast has been upheld by a federal appeals court in the face of environmental objections.
In an emergency order Friday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a claim that the Bureau of Indian Affairs violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Environmentalists at Cascadia Wildlands, had argued that the BIA did not adequately consider the cumulative impact of the logging in light of a previously approved harvest project on adjoining land and because the plan was inconsistent with the federal northern spotted owl restoration plan.
The 5,400-acre Coquille Forest was restored to the Coquille Indian tribe in 1996. In 2011 and 2013, the BIA approved the tribe’s timber harvest plan for 270 acres of regeneration harvest, 52 acres of density management and 56 acres of commercial thinning.
The harvest project on adjoining land was intended to produce $10.5 million in revenue for the tribe and would require 3.2 miles of road in the forest.
The appeals court upheld a decision to allow the harvest plans saying the Coquille Recovery Act, passed by Congress, does not require compliance with the habitat recovery plans.
Case: Cascadia Wildlands v. BIA, No. 14-35553
Photo: Coquille Tribe