Timber companies that want to harvest near potentially dangerous landslide areas will now have to conduct geologic reviews before getting a logging permit from the state, officials said Friday.
Under the new procedures announced by Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, the state will require a geotechnical report when there’s a potential risk to public safety – even if the harvest itself doesn’t include unstable lands.
“This added scrutiny provides more information to help properly identify potential hazards and avoid impacts,” Goldmark said in a statement.
The Department of Natural Resources, which Goldmark has led since 2009, approved logging in 2004 near the recent Snohomish County landslide that killed more than 40 people. A clear-cut can increase groundwater flows and destabilize landslide-prone slopes, and the impacts can linger for up to 27 years, according to a 1988 report by a University of Washington geologist.
Goldmark’s office is still investigating the circumstances of that cut and whether it had any contributing role in the March landslide.