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Court Blocks Ore. Salmon Ruling

December 15, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ A federal appeals court late Friday nullified a federal judge’s ruling that took Oregon coastal coho salmon off the threatened species list.

The two-sentence decision from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stops any logging along the salmon’s habitat that was authorized under U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan’s ruling in September. The circuit’s decision will remain in place until it makes a final ruling, which could be months or years.

``The logging will now stop,″ said Patti Goldman, an attorney with the environmental group Earthjustice in Seattle.

Hogan’s ruling opened the door to thousands of acres to be logged in the Umpqua National Forest and the Siskiyou National Forest.

Hogan issued the delisting order in September after concluding that it made no sense for the government to declare wild coho salmon threatened under the Endangered Species Act while not granting the same status to hatchery born salmon.

Environmentalists appealed. Among other things, the federal act demands that endangered or threatened species’ habitats be protected.

After Hogan’s ruling and decision against an appeal, the National Marine Fisheries Service said it would review whether 23 of the 25 groups of Pacific salmon and steelhead protected under the Endangered Species Act should keep their listings.

The fisheries service said it would also review the role hatcheries play in restoring dwindling salmon populations. Current federal policy considers hatchery fish a threat to the survival of wild fish because they compete for limited food and habitat, carry disease, and are less successful at survival in the wild.

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