Lawsuit: Ore. forest logging harming murrelets

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- A lawsuit filed in federal court alleges that logging in three Oregon state forests in the Coast Range is harming a protected bird, the marbled murrelet.

Three conservation groups filed the suit Thursday, asking a judge to halt the logging, including planned sales in the Tillamook, Clatsop and Elliott state forests.

Filing the action are Cascadia Wildlands, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Audubon Society of Portland.

Marbled murrelets are listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act. The seabirds spend most of their life on the ocean but fly inland to lay their eggs in mature or old-growth forests.

State officials say they take prudent measures to avoid harming the birds. Oregon Forestry Board spokesman Dan Postrel did not have an immediate response to the lawsuit.

The suit says that both Washington and California have more protective forest practice rules in place.