A Eugene-based environmentalist group has given notice to potential buyers of state forest lands in Coos County that it intends to sue them if their bids are successful.
Cascadia Wildlands, which won a 2012 injunction blocking logging on identified marbled murrelet nesting habitat in the Elliott State Forest, says that it will seek similar injunctions against any purchasers of three forest tracts currently up for auction.
In a letter to bidders and prospective bidders Thursday, attorney Daniel R. Kruse said the group intends “to commence litigation to obtain an injunction — the very same injunction already obtained against the current owner — to prevent you from logging in suitable or occupied marbled murrelet habitat.”
Speaking by phone Thursday, Cascadia Wildlands spokesperson Josh Laughlin described the notice as an effort to deter timber companies from encroaching on the land.
“This is an effort to put industry on notice that we will prosecute them if they attempt to buy and log old growth forests that are home to the marbled murrelet,” he said.
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Marbled murrelets, small seabirds that nest in old-growth timber, are listed as an endangered species.
After the Federal District Court for the District of Oregon barred logging in marbled murrelet habitat in 2012, the state said it had no choice but to sell some forest land to make up for declining revenues which traditionally went towards the state’s Common School Fund.
Three parcels — the Adams Ridge Tract 1, Benson Ridge and East Hakki Ridge — are currently being offered in a sealed bid auction through Reality Marketing Northwest.
Current and prospective bidders listed in the Cascadia Wildlands letter include Roseburg Forest Products, Georgia Pacific and Lone Rock Timber.
Reporter Thomas Moriarty can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 240, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @ThomasDMoriarty.