Hoping to expedite logging in the Northwest, the Senate voted this morning to exempt the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management from conducting detailed species surveys of land before it can be logged. Sens. Slade Gorton (R-Wash.) and Larry Craig (R-Idaho) sponsored the rider on the Interior Department appropriations bill, while Sen. Charles Robb (D-Va.) sponsored a failed measure that would have deleted the amendment. Dozens of timber sales were put on hold this summer after a federal judge ruled that the government had failed to conduct the required species surveys. Gorton complained that completing the required studies could cost up to $9 billion.

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