Looking for Rare Plants in All the Wrong Places
Federal officials agreed yesterday to settle a lawsuit with enviros that has halted timber sales on 24.5 million acres of federal forests in Washington, Oregon, and California. The agreement would lift an injunction against 34 timber sales, which was imposed by U.S. District Judge William Dwyer, and open up other sales that the U.S. Forest Service had halted in the wake of the judge’s ruling. The judge ruled this summer that the USFS and Bureau of Land Management had violated Clinton’s Northwest Forest Plan by failing to conduct required surveys for 77 rare plant and animal species. The settlement, applauded by enviros, simplifies the species surveys and would let timber sales go forward if they pass the surveys. The timber industry complained that it was excluded from talks about the settlement, which must now be submitted to Dwyer for approval.