Conservation group sues to stop logging

A Portland-based conservation group is suing the U.S. Forest Service over plans for thinning and salvage logging on about 2,800 acres in Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.

The Gifford Pinchot Task Force filed the lawsuit March 16 in U.S. District Court, contending the Forest Service should have prepared a full environmental impact statement on the proposed timber cutting and road building project.

The area in question, southeast of the volcano, lies outside the area specifically protected by Congress after the 1980 eruption.

The Forest Service says thinning the replanted clearcuts is necessary to hasten the development of old-growth habitat.

In its lawsuit, the Gifford Pinchot Task Force says the logging and construction of 11 miles of temporary roads will have serious consequences and asks that a full environmental impact statement be required.