Court of Appeals Orders Forest Service to Re-Examine Timber Sales

The U.S. Court of Appeals is ordering the Forest Service to revisit its decision to offer four timber sales on the Tongass National Forest.

The court sided with two environmental groups that challenged the sales on the basis of how the federal agency evaluates deer habitat.

In a ruling issued on Tuesday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the Forest Service had not adequately explained its decision to approve the sales.

At issue is the Forest Service’s assessment of deer habitat.

Greenpeace and the Cascadia Wildlands challenged the timber sales, citing concerns about the effect on deer and their predator, the Alexander Archipelago wolf.

Larry Edwards is a campaigner for Greenpeace in Sitka.

The court ultimately ruled that the Forest Service violated the National Forest Management Act.  The Forest Service and U.S. Department of Justice declined to comment for this story. Alaska Forest Association Executive Director Owen Graham could not be reached for comment.

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Deanna Garrison is a reporter at KRBD in Ketchikan.

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