While logging is beginning in the Upper Clearwater Valley, residents concerned about potential flood damage and threats to mountain caribou are awaiting an appeal to the federal government and a change in the legislature in Victoria.

Trevor Goward, a scientist and one of the community leaders opposed to logging by Canfor, said the legal application to block clearcut logging under the Species at Risk Act in the Upper Clearwater Valley is in front of federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna.

Mountain caribou in the North Thompson is at risk of extirpation.

“The Canadian Wildlife Service (under the Environment Ministry) wrote and said they’re reviewing it they will make a recommendation to the minister,” Goward said.

Residents and outside scientists have made a 68-page legal application to halt logging.

Goward said Canfor has started logging on the west side of the river, a less contentious location. The company has approval from the province for one cutblock thus far, though Goward noted provincial laws allow little or no leeway by bureaucrats or politicians to stop logging if companies meet the act.

Canfor has refused comment on the issue, other than to issue a letter to defend its actions.

While it has conducted studies, the company has refused to let residents obtain copies, allowing viewing only in its office in Vavenby.

Goward said residents and the society asking for a halt to logging have renewed hope in the pending NDP-Green government. He said there is “rot” in the system, noting Canfor has donated more than $800,000 to the B.C. Liberal party.

The proposed NDP-Green pact has vowed to ban corporate and union political donations.