Logging not even being studied as cause of Oso slide

by: Henry Rosoff Updated:

Workers clear debris and search at the scene of a deadly mudslide from the now-barren hillside at upper right, nearly two weeks earlier, Thursday, April 3, 2014, in Oso, Wash. More than a dozen people are listed as missing and 30 bodies have been found in debris from the March 22 landslide that broke off a steep hill, roared across the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River and buried a community at Oso, about 55 miles north of Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
OLYMPIA, Wash. —

No one is even studying if logging in 2004 may have contributed to the Oso landslide that killed 43 people.

That revelation was part of a meeting of the Washington Forest Practices Board special hearing Monday. 

The board sets rules for the $17 billion logging industry.  Board members found out U.S. Geological Survey, the agency investigating the cause of the slide, has not even began studying logging's role in the disaster.

"We need the results of those sorts of inquires," said board chair Aaron Everett.  "But in the meantime, we're going to act in a way that's conservative and protects public safety."

Monday, the board did hear from the people who issue logging permits and people who lobby for the logging industry. 

They talked about better ways to safely log unstable slopes, using special radar to detect slides and focusing more on public safety.

At the end of the hearing, people who lost loved ones to the slide got to speak.

"Nothing can prepare you for a loss like this," said Debbie Durnell, whose husband died in the slide.  "We owe every person who died, to do all in our power to make sure logging regulations are adequate and that they are enforced."

KIRO 7 is reaching out to the USGS to find out why it's not studying logging's role in the Oso landslide.