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Judge OKs northeastern Oregon forest thinning project

Officials with the U.S. Forest Service have said the project aims to reduce wildfire and insect problems along roughly 11 miles of the Lostine River.

Posted: Aug. 29, 2018 1:29 PM

SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- A federal judge says a project to thin 2,000 acres of timberland in northeastern Oregon's Wallowa-Whitman National Forest can move forward.

The Capital Press reports officials with the U.S. Forest Service have said the project aims to reduce wildfire and insect problems along roughly 11 miles of the Lostine River.

The Greater Hells Canyon Council and Oregon Wild organizations sued over the plans last year, contending that the project was improperly excluded from environmental studies under the National Environmental Policy Act. A U.S. magistrate judge dismissed those claims. Now U.S. District Judge Michael Simon has agreed with the lower court, dismissing the lawsuit.

Simon said the project also complies with the Wild and Scenic River Act because the Forest Service properly determined the thinning project's long-term effects would benefit the Lostine River's "outstandingly remarkable values."

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