OSO, Wash., April 20 (UPI) -- Washington state officials stopped a planned sale of timber about five miles away from the site of the Oso, Wash., mudslide that killed 39 people.
The Department of Natural Resources had planned to sell the more than 180 acres of land next week, but those plans were halted indefinitely.
Environmentalists were concerned about the area's steep slopes and the fact that several homes are situated within 500 feet of the downhill edge of the timber, which would have been clear cut.
The department said the land had been evaluated by geologists three times since 2011 and in the most recent evaluation in November and December, about 4 acres had been eliminated from the sale.“In light of what the communities surrounding Oso have endured, I’ve directed department staff to review all the information on this nearby timber sale before moving forward,” Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark said in a statement. “Though we conducted thorough assessments of this proposed sale, it is prudent for us to take another look and reconfirm that this sale is properly configured.”
Officials haven't determined the cause of the March 22 mudslide in Oso, but some geologists said it's possible logging in the region could have had an impact.