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Administration drops logging plan

Won't pursue effort to ease salmon protections on national forest land

Herald and News 11/21/07

GRANTS PASS (AP) - The Bush administration has abandoned efforts pushed by the timber industry to allow more logging around salmon streams on Northwest national forests.

The administration's motion to withdraw an appeal of a lawsuit brought by salmon advocates to reinstate what is known as the Aquatic Conservation Strategy of the Northwest Forest Plan was approved Tuesday by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Last April, a federal judge ruled that the Bush administration illegally suppressed and misrepresented the views of scientists who objected to revising the salmon protections.

Under the conservation strategy, before federal agencies could approve logging, road-building or other projects, they had to determine that the projects would not harm salmon streams. It had held up logging on 4 million acres. The revision speeded consideration of logging projects and called for protecting watersheds as a whole, rather than individual streams.

The Northwest Forest Plan was adopted in 1994, to resolve lawsuits demanding protection for old-growth forests where the northern spotted owl lives. It cut logging by more than 80 percent.

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