Bush administration eases logging restrictions on old-growth
Forest managers will no longer have to look for rare plants and animals
SEATTLE – The Bush administration has eased rules on logging old-growth forest in the Pacific Northwest.
Forest managers no longer have to look for rare plants and animals before logging.
Instead, federal managers will rely on information provided by the states - Washington, Oregon and California.
They'll use that information to decide whether to allow logging and building of trails and campgrounds.
Environmentalists don't like the change. They say it will double logging on federal land - and be a disaster for rare species.
But the Forest Service says most old-growth forest in the region will still be protected.
The change was prompted by a timber industry lawsuit and is intended to increase logging on 24 million acres of public land.
The timber industry had complained for years that so-called "survey and manage" rules are intrusive and can take years to complete. Those rules require study of the potential effects of logging on about 300 plant and animal species.