Lawsuit points finger at lumber companies

Sunday, May 18, 2003

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Five U.S. Forest Service whistleblowers who claim their timber theft unit was abolished to protect lumber companies from prosecutions will make their case at a hearing in June.

A federal administrative law judgewill hear the case, in which the former timber theft unit members charge that their 16-member division was abolished in 1995 after they began investigating alleged Forest Service cover-ups of corporate timber theft.

The Forest Service, which is fighting the allegations that date to 1996, has maintained for seven years that the unit was eliminated because it wasn't efficient.

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