Judge intervenes on behalf of threatened seabird in Oregon

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon judge has ruled that the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission illegally reversed an earlier decision granting endangered species status to the marbled murrelet, a small seabird that nests in old-growth forests.

Environmental groups say Oregon has sought to avoid protections for the bird, allowing clearcut logging in its habitat. A spokeswoman for the wildlife department said it won’t comment on legal matters. The ruling was by Lane County Circuit Court Judge Lauren Holland in Eugene.

Conservation groups said they petitioned the wildlife commission to list the marbled murrelet as endangered, and that it voted to do so, concluding the bird was likely to go extinct. But the commission reversed itself without explanation. Holland said the commission was required to explain its reversal, and that it failed to.