In early January 2020, Washington Environmental Council, Conservation Northwest, Olympic Forest Coalition, and other individual plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the Department of Natural Resources, Board of Natural Resources, and Commissioner of Public Lands regarding the state’s management of public forestlands in Washington.
The suit calls on the courts to:
- Affirm that the state constitution requires that these public lands be managed to maximize benefit for all the people of the state.
- Clarify that the State can manage forests to not only produce revenue from timber harvest, but also to promote the broader public interest.
- Underscores the need for trust beneficiaries who receive revenue from logging of state forestlands, including rural counties and school districts, to have a more reliable source of funding instead of being tied to unstable revenue flows and often unsustainable logging practices on public forests that frequently comes at the expense of other public benefits.
This complaint has been filed in response to lawsuits by the timber industry and some counties calling for more logging of state forestlands, which came after the Board of Natural Resources’ decisions on the decadal harvest level and Marbled Murrelet long-term conservation strategy in early December 2019.
A press release with more information can be found on the WEC website here.
While Seattle Audubon is not party to this legal action, we remain active with the Marbled Murrelet Coalition and will assist with communications, activating the Audubon network, and more. We’ll keep you updated as details emerge.