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Judge Halts Lawsuit Over Expanded Cascade-Siskiyou Monument

<p>Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in Oregon.</p>

Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in Oregon.

A federal judge will allow the Trump administration to complete its review of national monuments before deciding how to move forward with a lawsuit involving the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.

Two timber companies in southern Oregon have filed a lawsuit against the expansion, arguing the enlarged Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument is a violation of presidential authority and could hamper their logging operations.

During his final days in office, President Barack Obama expanded the monument through the Antiquities Act. But in April, President Trump signed an executive order directing the Department of Interior to review some two decades' worth of presidential monument designations.

In a court filing last week, the U.S. Department of Justice argued that the Interior Department should be allowed to first complete its review. The agency argued the monument “designation could ultimately be changed in ways that would affect this litigation.”

U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Mark Clarke agreed and ordered a joint statement from the timber companies and administration in late September.

Copyright 2017 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Conrad Wilson is a reporter and producer covering criminal justice and legal affairs for OPB.