Appeals Court Restores Shield
by David Kravets, Associated Press
Ruling halts logging along habitat
SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal appeals court late yesterday nullified a federal judge's ruling that took Oregon coastal coho salmon off the threatened-species list.
The two-sentence decision from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stops any logging along the salmon's habitat that was authorized under U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan's ruling in September.
The circuit court's decision will remain in place until it makes a final ruling, which could be months or years from now.
"The logging will now stop," said Patti Goldman, an attorney with the environmental group Earthjustice in Seattle.
Hogan's ruling opened the door to thousands of acres being logged in the Umpqua National Forest and the Siskiyou National Forest.
Other areas that were opened to logging included Roseburg, Coos Bay and Medford, Goldman said.
Hogan issued the delisting order in September after concluding that it made no sense for the government to declare wild coho salmon threatened under the Endangered Species Act while not granting the same status to hatchery-born salmon.
Environmentalists appealed. Among other things, the Endangered Species Act demands that endangered or threatened species' habitats be protected.
Goldman said yesterday's ruling had regional implications because "people were threatening to file the same kind of cases" that could have seen the delisting of other fish species, including Puget Sound and Columbia River chinook and other coho in Southern Oregon and Northern California.
"It's good for the whole region because now there won't be a flood of delistings," Goldman said. "Throwing out the protection in the short run doesn't make any sense."
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