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Seattle Audubon Soc'y v. Sutherland

ELR Citation: 37 ELR 20207
Nos. No. C06-1608MJP, (W.D. Wash., 08/01/2007)

A district court granted in part and denied in part environmental groups' motion to preliminarily enjoin all logging of suitable spotted owl habitat on private lands in owl circles outside of spotted owl special emphasis areas throughout the state of Washington. The court granted the groups' request to enjoin logging in the four owl circles identified on a logging company's property in southwest Washington. The groups have shown that without an injunction, it is reasonably likely that a take will occur within these four owl circles. Therefore, pending a trial on the merits of the groups' Endangered Species Act claim, the company may not log any suitable habitat within 2.7 miles of the center of those owl circles. But the court denied the groups' request to prohibit the state from authorizing logging of suitable habitat in owl circles on private lands outside of special emphasis areas throughout the state. The groups failed to show that it is likely that spotted owls inhabit many of these circles. Nor did the groups identify the amount of suitable owl habitat remaining within those circles. Given these evidentiary deficiencies, the groups have not met their burden of showing that additional logging, authorized by the state, is likely to harm spotted owls.