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The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

May 9, 2014 at 2:41 PM

State strengthens standards for logging near dangerous landslide areas

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.

Comments | Topics: landslides, logging, mudslides

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