Judge Halts Logging For Spotted Owl


The Environmental News Network reports on a federal judge issuing a preliminary injunction against Weyerhaeuser’s logging in Spotted Owl habitat on private land in Washington. That’s good news for owls. But U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman declined to grant another Seattle Audubon Society request to keep the state of Washington from granting permits to log in Spotted Owl habitat. Even so, Kenan Block, a spokesman for the Washington Forest Law Center, said Pechman’s decision “really shows the Endangered Species Act still has some teeth in it.” . . . Well, not if Bush and Cheney get their way.

The owl was listed as threatened in 1990 primarily because of heavy logging in the old growth forests where it nests and feeds. Today, it also faces a new threat from a cousin, the Barred Owl &mdash once an inhabitant of the Great Plains, now expanding its range westward due to a variety of human factors, including fire suppression in boreal forests, and the planting of shelterbelts in the northern Great Plains. . . Does Judge Pechman take that bigger picture into consideration when she weighs the fate of a species? JULIA WHITTY

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  • Julia Whitty is the environmental correspondent for Mother Jones. Her latest book is Deep Blue Home: An Intimate Ecology of Our Wild Ocean. For more of her stories, click here.