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Public Papers - 1992 - September

Statement by Press Secretary Fitzwater on the Circuit Court Decision on the Marbled Murrelet


The administration is disappointed that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to stay an order by the Seattle Federal District Court requiring the Fish and Wildlife Service to immediately decide whether to list the marbled murrelet as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. The district court also issued a temporary restraining order preventing timber sales in selected areas of the Pacific Northwest's national forests. The court order will require a listing decision for the marbled murrelet to be made prematurely, before additional biological information necessary to make an appropriate decision is obtained.

These rulings will result in additional hardships for timber families and communities in the Pacific Northwest already suffering high rates of unemployment as a result of court injunctions to protect the spotted owl. The premature listing of the marbled murrelet is further evidence that several statutes relating to forest management and species protection are in need of reform by Congress.

This recent development provides another clear message to Congress that it must enact appropriate timber management legislation, such as proposed by the administration, to address the timber supply crisis in the Pacific Northwest as quickly as possible. The administration will continue to work for a balanced solution to this problem, one which will provide sufficient timber to keep Northwest mills operating and workers employed while providing protection for endangered species.

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