Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, July 18, 2023

Contact:

Meg Townsend, Center for Biological Diversity, (971) 717-6409, mtownsend@biologicaldiversity.org
Nick Cady, Cascadia Wildlands, (541) 434-1463, nick@cascwild.org

FEMA Pulls Oregon Logging Road Funding In Response to Lawsuit

Agency to Reevaluate Harm to Coho, Murrelets

PORTLAND, Ore.— In response to a lawsuit filed Monday by the Center for Biological Diversity and Cascadia Wildlands, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has pulled its authorization of federal disaster relief funding to rebuild Cook Creek Road. The road would have been used for logging in Oregon’s Tillamook State Forest.

“It’s a major victory that FEMA has decided to revoke funding for this disastrous logging road, which should never have been built in the first place,” said Meg Townsend, senior freshwater attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “I’m delighted FEMA is taking its duty to protect threatened coho salmon and marbled murrelets seriously. Now we need the Oregon Department of Forestry to reconsider logging in Cook Creek and instead leave it for fish and fishing.”

In a letter sent late Monday, FEMA said it recognized the groups’ concerns and would consider the effects of the Forestry Department’s proposed timber sales, which could not occur if FEMA didn’t provide federal funding to rebuild the road.

In particular, the Forestry Department has two timber sales slated for 2024 that would involve clearcutting nearly 700 acres and constructing more than three miles of new logging roads on steep, landslide prone slopes in the Cook Creek watershed.

“We are relieved the government is going to reevaluate subsidizing Oregon’s attempts to log mature and old-growth forests,” said Nick Cady, legal director of Cascadia Wildlands. “Using disaster relief funds to facilitate logging that increases fire risks for Oregonians is ridiculous.”

Cook Creek Road has been closed since December 2015 when heavy rainfall washed out a section of the road into Cook Creek, halting all logging in the watershed.

RSCook Creek Road_Meg Townsend_Center
Photo of the section of Cook Creek Road that washed out into Cook Creek, taken April 2023. Credit: Meg Townsend/Center for Biological Diversity. Image is available for media use.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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