Grants Pass, OR -

Western timber companies have gone to court to lift the logging ban on national forests due to the government shutdown, arguing the government has no authority under timber sale contracts to force loggers to stop working.

The lawsuit was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Medford against the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

It argues that direction from the Office of Management and Budget does not require suspension of operations on a federal contract so long as direct supervision is not critical to the contractor's work.

Tom Partin of the American Forest Resource Council says the shutdown is hurting working families and eventually will lead to some mills shutting down for lack of logs.

The Forest Service had no immediate comment on the lawsuit.