No Logging Moratorium In Wake Of Oso Landslide

May 13, 2014

In the wake of the deadly landslide near Oso, Wash., there will be no immediate moratorium on logging around unstable slopes. Some conservationists and regulators wanted to push for that. Environmental lawyer and activist Peter Goldman of Seattle was one of them. But Goldman says the state Forest Practices Board learned Tuesday it doesn't have the authority to impose a logging moratorium.

A view of the slope where the Oso landslide took place.
Credit Snohomish County / Flickr

"The concept of a moratorium was dismissed for legal reasons, not for policy reasons,” Goldman said. “It's an important distinction. No one in there said we don't think a moratorium is a good idea. The attorney general told the board they couldn't do it."

Timber harvest regulators also discussed other policy responses in Olympia. Those include how to make sure homebuyers learn about nearby natural hazards and how to improve mapping of landslide zones.
None of the government geologists who investigated the Oso landslide have established whether nearby clear-cuts had anything to do with the disaster. The director of a timber industry association testified Monday that loggers know it is in everyone's interest to steer clear of steep, unstable slopes.

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