Timber group, Eastern Oregon counties move to intervene in ‘Eastside Screens’ lawsuit

By George Plaven
The East Oregonian
October 10, 2022
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

PENDLETON, Oregon — A timber industry group and coalition of Eastern Oregon counties is attempting to intervene in a lawsuit that, if successful, would reimpose a total ban on logging certain large trees in six national forests. The case centers on a rule known as the “Eastside Screens,” adopted in 1995 to protect wildlife habitat and water quality on roughly 10 million acres in the Umatilla, Wallowa-Whitman, Malheur, Ochoco, Deschutes and Fremont-Winema national forests. Part of the rule prohibited cutting down any trees larger than 21 inches in diameter. However, the Forests Service under the Trump administration dropped the 21-inch standard on Jan. 15, 2021, five days before President Joe Biden was inaugurated. In its place, the agency imposed a more flexible guideline that generally prioritizes protecting old and large trees, but allows land managers to make exceptions for projects to meet long-term forest restoration goals.

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