State officials are exploring whether it’s legal to declare a moratorium on timber harvests near landslide areas.
The Spokesman-Review reported Tuesday (http://bit.ly/1jqb3bC) that the chairman of the Forest Practices Board said that the board may not have the legal authority to declare a moratorium, so the state Department of Natural Resources will ask the state’s Attorney General for an opinion on the matter.
The board sets rules for harvesting timber, and DNR manages state forest lands. The board was urged by an environmental attorney to impose a moratorium Monday in the wake of a mudslide in Oso that that killed 41 and left two people missing nearly two months ago.
Last week, Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark issued a requirement for applicants who want a harvest permit to provide a detailed site review by a qualified geologist if the state determines that logging near unstable slopes could affect public safety, but some argue that doesn’t go far enough.