"Forest Service Rewriting Bush Logging Rule"

"GRANTS PASS, Ore. — After striking out the last three times, the U.S. Forest Service is embarking on another rewrite of the basic planning rule that balances logging against fish and wildlife and clean water in national forests.

Echoing his speech earlier this year laying out a greener future for the national forests, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced from Washington, D.C., on Thursday that work is starting on an environmental impact statement to take the place of the most recent one produced by the Bush administration that was struck down by a federal judge.

"Our national forests and grasslands are great natural treasures that we must conserve and restore for the benefit of future generations,' Vilsack said in a statement. 'Developing a new planning rule provides the opportunity to manage national forests and grasslands for the benefit of water resources, the climate and local communities.'

The Bush administration's attempt to ease protections for fish and wildlife habitat under the rule were struck down last June by U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken in Oakland, Calif., who found that the Forest Service failed to take a hard look at the environmental impacts of changing the rule."

Jeff Barnard reports for the Associated Press December 17, 2009.

Source: AP, 12/18/2009