Ninth Circuit Denies Big Thorne Injunction

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied an emergency motion for an injunction that would have delayed the Big Thorne Timber Sale pending an appeal of a lower-court ruling.

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Big Thorne Map
Big Thorne Map

Thursday’s denial was the latest action related to the Big Thorne Timber Sale on Prince of Wales Island. The U.S. Forest Service last summer made a final decision to move forward with the project, which includes about 6,000 acres of old-growth rainforest.

Environmentalists, arguing that it’s critical habitat for deer and wolves, quickly sued to stop the timber sale. Lawsuits were filed in federal court by two separate coalitions of conservation groups.

This spring, U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline rejected all the arguments brought forward by the environmental groups, and ruled in favor of the Forest Service.

That court had consolidated the two lawsuits, but each set appealed separately to the Ninth Circuit.

In its Thursday ruling, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals also agreed to consolidate the appeals into one case, and to expedite the appeals process.