Logging Industry Fails Again to Strip Threatened Seabird of Protections

Court Upholds Marbled Murrelet Protection in Washington, Oregon, California

WASHINGTON— The DC Circuit Court of Appeals last Friday rejected yet another attempt by the timber industry to remove federal endangered species protections from the marbled murrelet, a unique coastal bird found in the Pacific Northwest. The appeal was the timber industry’s fifth attempt in the past decade to eliminate protections for the old-growth forests that marbled murrelets call home, despite undisputed scientific evidence that has shown murrelets are continuing to disappear from the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California.

“The DC Circuit soundly disposed of industry’s arguments, most of which it called ‘frivolous,’ ” said Kristen Boyles, a staff attorney with Earthjustice. “Five strikes and you’re out — there is no support in science, law or public opinion for the industry’s continued demand to log the public old-growth murrelet forests.”

The marbled murrelet is a shy, robin-sized seabird that feeds at sea but nests only in old-growth forests along the Pacific Coast. Murrelets don’t build nests, instead laying their single egg on large, moss-covered branches in old-growth Douglas fir, Sitka spruce, western hemlock and redwood trees. In 1992 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service protected marbled murrelets in Washington, Oregon and California as a threatened species due to logging of coastal old-growth forests. The timber industry has waged a 15-year legal campaign to eliminate protections for the small seabird in order to increase logging of some of the region’s last remaining mature and old-growth forests.

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Contact: Noah Greenwald


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Media Contacts:
Mike Stark, Communications Director, (520) 623-5252 ext. 315

Andy Parker, Media Specialist – Endangered Species, (503) 310-5569

Patrick Sullivan, Media Specialist – Climate Change, Fracking, (415) 632-5316

Russ McSpadden, Communications Associate – Media Photos

Banner photo courtesy Flickr/lalo pangue; marbled murrelet photo by Gus Vliet Van, USFWS