ALBANY — The state has conceded that a class-action lawsuit seeking $1.4 billion for insufficient timber harvests isn’t blocked by the statute of limitations.
The state government has also dropped its argument that county governments and local taxing districts don’t have legal standing to sue for alleged breach of contract.
Last year, Linn County filed a lawsuit accusing the state of violating contracts with 15 counties by reducing logging on about 650,000 acres of forestland the counties had donated to the state.
The agreement was that the state would manage the forest lands and turn money from timber harvests over to the counties, primarily for funding schools. In recent years, however, the state has claimed that they can't permit sustainable forest practices - logging and replanting - because laws don't allow these activities except in very limited circumstances.
But the laws don't ban logging and replanting, they basically insist on erosion control and on preservation of trees along streams to maintain cold water temperatures. The state simply gave up due to continuing litigation and vandalism by environmeddlists. Contracts are contracts, however, and the counties have grown tired of getting no cash but plenty of excuses.