Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Timber group files suit against monument expansion

A timber-industry group has joined the growing list of entities asking the federal courts to invalidate last fall's near-doubling of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. The American Forest Resource Council filed suit Friday in federal court claiming President Barack Obama illegally used the Antiquities Act to add thousands of acres of O&C Act lands in the monument expansion, contradicting a 1940 Department of the Interior legal opinion stating O&C lands can't be pulled from production. The land was part of the original O&C Act lands that were set aside by Congress for sustained timber production as managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The 1940 internal governmental review conducted during a proposed expansion of the Oregon Caves National Monument concluded the Antiquities Act can't trump the O&C Act. It is the third federal suit filed since Feb. 3 seeking to nullify the expansion of the monument east of Ashland by 47,624 acres. Including the expansion, the monument now includes 113,013 acres of federal lands within a footprint that covers about 137,500 acres in southeastern Jackson County, Klamath County and Northern California. Nearly identical lawsuits were filed Feb. 13 by the Oregon Association of O&C Counties and Feb. 17 by the Murphy Co., which owns about 2,000 acres within the monument footprint...more

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