"WASHINGTON -- Western timber industry leaders have new hope for easier logging in national forests, aided by their Capitol Hill allies and perhaps the still-shorthanded Trump administration.
With devoutly conservative Republicans from California and Utah chairing forest-related congressional panels, and a business-friendly administration antagonistic toward environmental regulations, the time appears opportune to some and dangerous to others. A hearing Wednesday revved up the debate about making it easier to turn trees into commerce.
“There are a number of barriers . . . (and) stay-away zones,” Steven A. Brink, vice president of public resources and logging advocate for the California Forestry Association, told lawmakers, adding that “we will never get the forest into a resilient condition if we have to walk away from half of it.”