SPRINGFIELD, Ore -- Two environmental groups have filed a lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management in an effort to stop a logging operation in the Thurston Hills.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday in Federal court by Cascadia Wildlands and Oregon Wilds alleges the planned 100-acre logging operation that was purchased by Seneca Sawmill Company could increase the risk of wildfires. The land is owned by the BLM.
Seneca Sawmill Company is not named in the lawsuit, and officials plan to add miles of hiking and biking trails as part of the project.
Samantha Krop with Cascadia Wildlands said the BLM didn't take a hard look at the potential environmental impacts and didn't thoroughly review other options.
"Our goal would be to see them do a fire-wise thinning project or to just build the trail system and not tack on their timber revenue generating addendum," Krop said.
A spokeswoman for the BLM said they could not comment on pending litigation.
Casey Roscoe with Seneca Sawmill Company said they are going to keep moving forward with the project as the lawsuit plays out but said it could take up to a year before the site is ready for harvest.
"We're so disappointed in (Cascadia Wildlands') stance," Roscoe said. "The BLM we think has bent over backward to try to meet them in the middle."
Officials at Cascadia Wildlands are planning a roundtable discussion on local forest management. It’s scheduled to happen April 18 at Springfield City Hall.