BOISE, Idaho | ERIC TEGETHOFF (Public News Service) – A logging project on Idaho national forest land is moving forward again, after its rejection in federal court last year.
Work is expected to start this week on a U.S. Forest Service-approved project in the Payette National Forest. Alliance for the Wild Rockies Executive Director Mike Garrity says there’s nothing different now about the Lost Creek-Boulder Creek project, which involves 40,000 acres of logging and 40,000 acres of prescribed burning.
Garrity says it will take place on public land in bull trout and lynx habitat, and the timber sale will cost the Forest Service more than $12 million.
“On the entire project, they’re going to lose almost $30 million,” says Garrity. “So, it’s a huge subsidy for the timber industry to try and not only do all this logging, but to convert the forest from a habitat for native species to a tree farm.”
Last year, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the project violated the 2003 Payette National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan. The Forest Service says it worked on the environmental review to clear up the technical inconsistencies and other issues the court had with the plan.
Nonetheless, Garrity says his group is filing a lawsuit to stop the project and its attorneys will lay out a similar case to last year’s against the Forest Service.
“We’ve hired attorneys,” says Garrity. “The same attorneys we had before. And our attorneys can’t believe they’re going to tell the courts that they’re not going to follow the ruling.”
The project initially started in 2015 and includes making improvements to trails and installing restrooms. A Forest Service spokesperson says the commercial logging will help pay for some of these projects.