Expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument Will Depend on Courts’ Ruling on Presidential Logging Authority

The expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument may come down to whether the president—at the time, Barack Obama—had authority over the 2.4 million acres of federal “Q&C Lands” in Western Oregon. The decision falls to the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

For historical context, roughly 40,000 acres added to the monument are governed by the Oregon & California Lands Act, which established logging as the primary purpose on federal forestlands retaken from railroad companies 85 years ago.

The 9th Circuit must now consider whether Obama had the power to override that requirement under the Antiquities Act, an even older federal law that allows presidents to create national monuments, or whether Congress has eliminated the president’s ability to ban logging on O&C lands within the monument’s expanded footprint.

The 9th Circuit has taken the matter under advisement, but it’s not the only federal appeals court considering the problem. While a federal judge in Oregon ruled the national monument’s expansion was lawful, another federal judge in Washington, DC, determined the associated logging restrictions are disallowed on O&C Lands. The federal government has challenged that contradictory ruling, and the litigation is currently pending before the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.

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National monument expansion may hinge on presidential logging authority