Timber companies will be given the chance to chop down many large, old trees on millions of acres in national forests if they also remove the undergrowth, brush, and small trees that fuel forest fires, thanks to a provision snuck into a massive spending bill that President Bush signed last month. Enviros are calling the program a giveaway to the logging industry, noting that bigger trees are precisely the ones that shouldn’t be cut in the name of fire prevention because they resist wildfire. But the timber industry hopes to drown out those green voices with a new PR campaign that it’s developing in close consultation with administration officials. The campaign is intended to sell the public on the president’s plan to step up logging on public land as a way to stave off forest fires.

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