BLM postpones timber sale while studying recent court decision

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has postponed a timber sale in the Applegate River drainage while it pores over the ramifications of last month's federal court decision in a lawsuit brought by the timber industry.

The agency has decided to delay the 2.3 million-board-foot Williams Thin timber sale originally scheduled to be sold at auction Thursday to give it more time to assess the June 26 decision by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon in Washington, D.C., according to Jim Whittington, spokesman for the BLM's Medford District.

"This is a postponement, not a cancellation," he stressed. "We are still figuring out all the implications of the decision and assessing where we are going to go from here."

The Williams Thin near the community of Williams was one of three similar sales the agency postponed because of the decision, including the 2.2 million-board-foot Uncle Albert sale in the Roseburg District and the Round Up sale in its Eugene District which included some 5.2 million board feet of timber, he said.

In response to a 2010 suit filed by timber interests, Leon concluded the BLM didn't comply with timber harvest requirements under the federal 1937 O&C Act, which sets timber production as the top priority for the BLM forests. He ordered the agency to offer timber sales on its Medford and Roseburg districts that reflected their existing resource management plans. He also invalidated a computer model government agencies use to estimate spotted owl numbers in timber sale areas.

— Paul Fattig

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