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Court Reverses Ruling Requiring More Logging

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A federal appeals court Friday threw out a lower court ruling that required the Bureau of Land Management to increase timber sales in Southern Oregon.

Timber companies had argued successfully in 2013 that the Bureau was not offering enough logs for sale under the nearly 80-year-old Oregon and California Railroad Act.

But the new Court of Appeals ruling--in the District of Columbia circuit--says the companies had no standing to sue in the first place. It said they didn't sufficiently show they had been harmed by a lack of timber harvest on B-L-M land.

For the same reason, the court also threw out a previous ruling that negated how federal scientists count threatened owls on timber sales.

The case only applies to B-L-M land in the Medford and Roseburg districts.

A timber industry representative told the A-P that they would likely file the case again with additional proof of harm.

Environmental groups called the ruling a victory.

But the court opinion did not address a key question: whether the O-and-C Lands Act requires the B-L-M to put timber production before conservation.

Geoffrey Riley is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and has hosted the Jefferson Exchange on JPR since 2009. He's been a broadcaster in the Rogue Valley for more than 35 years, working in both television and radio.