MEDFORD, OR -- A federal judge has allowed loggers to head back to work on national forests without waiting for federal agencies to lift the ban prompted by the government shutdown. Earlier this week, the timber industry sued the US Forest Service and BLM, arguing that closing down logging operations on federal land was not authorized by the guidance given to agencies during the shutdown. After Congress resumed funding the government yesterday, the agencies said they were lifting the ban, and would notify timber purchasers. But logging companies did not want to wait for government paperwork, because they said bad weather could shut them down at any time. Following a hearing in Medford yesterday, a federal judge signed a temporary restraining order immediately lifting the logging ban.
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