Timber companies filed a lawsuit Monday against the federal government. They claim there is no legal reason to suspend logging during the partial government shutdown.
The American Forest Resource Council joined Murphy Timber Company, High Cascades Inc., and South Bay Timber in the lawsuit. It seeks an injunction to lift the ban on logging during the government shutdown. AFRC Spokeswoman Ann Forest Burns says there is no provision in the contracts that says logging must be stopped on projects already approved. She says the lack of timber will hurt workers and mills.
"The lumber market is starting to come up. It's probably its highest point since the recession. And the mills that are dependent on public timber are going to miss out on being able to be a part of that recovery and may lose customers off into the future. It isn't just about current income, it's also about competition" says Burns.
Burns says when the government reopens the lawsuit would be dropped. But the feds could still face litigation for breach of contract for loggers who lost work. Due to the shutdown, no one could be reached for comment at the U.S. Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management.
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