Forest Service will auction off Oregon timber burned by Biscuit fire

Enviros have lost a four-year legal battle to keep logging out of Oregon’s Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, burned four years ago by the massive Biscuit fire. A federal appeals court has cleared the U.S. Forest Service to auction off rights today to about 400 acres of timber in the forest. The governors of Oregon, Washington, California, and New Mexico joined enviros in opposing the sale, worrying it will set a precedent for logging in areas that were protected from development before the Bush administration reversed Clinton’s roadless rule two years ago. Greens also argued that logging would hinder natural forest regeneration by damaging new growth. A USFS spokesflack said the agency will “reforest successfully” after the timber sale. She also declared that no logging roads will be built, but that the timber — which, untouched for four years, is likely to be dead, rotting, and not particularly economically viable — will be lifted out by helicopter. So that makes it all OK.