by George Prentice
A logging operation, which just recently started up in North-Central Idaho but has been the target of environmentalists for more than two years, has been told to silence its blades.
The Little Slate Project covers about two square miles in the Salmon River Ranger District of the Nez Perce National Forest. Its operators say the work yields timber products while reducing wildfire potential. But Friends of the Clearwater and the Alliance for the Wild Rockies argue that the operation threatens some endangered species by destroying habitat for animals, including lynx and trout. The environmentalists claimed that the U.S. Forest Service didn’t properly take wildlife into consideration when it gave the green light for the logging plan.
And while a ruling last December from U.S. District Judge Mikel Williams said that the logging could commence, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary injunction July 23, halting the Little Slate Project. The injunction will remain in effect this week while an appeal is argued.
Operators say they had just begun operations and they were expecting to produce approximately 40 million board-feet of timber.