Conservation groups are urging the Obama administration to keep logging restrictions in place for nearly 4 million acres of coastal forests in the Pacific Northwest. Otherwise, they say a threatened species of seabird could be at greater risk of extinction.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service came out this summer with a legal settlement agreement after the timber industry sued the agency over its plans to protect the marbled murrelet.
Conservation groups oppose that agreement. One of them is the Portland-based Center For Biological Diversity. Noah Greenwald is with the center.
"We’d like them to withdraw from the settlement agreement before the court rules on it, and fight to maintain the protections that murrelets urgently need to survive and recover," Greenwald says.
The agreement eliminates critical habitat protections on forests where murrelets nest. The plan is awaiting court approval.
Fish and Wildlife spokesman Doug Zimmer said the service is committed to protecting murrelets. Zimmer said he could not comment on the conservationists’ request because it pertains to ongoing litigation.
Copyright 2012 Oregon Public Broadcasting