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Forest Service rules would weaken protection


February 8, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. Forest Service today released a new proposal for the nation’s 193-million-acre national forest system that will weaken rules protecting fish and wildlife from logging, livestock grazing, mining and off-road vehicles.

The new proposal, which was released as part of the final environmental impact statement for the rule, is the Forest Service’s fourth attempt since 2000 to revise nationwide regulations governing national forests. All three previous attempts were challenged in court and all were found unlawful.
The Center for Biological Diversity, one of the groups challenging the previous rule changes, also opposes the newest one.

“Today’s rule is a step up from the Bush administration’s rule, but its protections are still a far cry from Reagan-era regulations that the Forest Service has been trying to weaken for 12 years,” said Taylor McKinnon, public lands campaigns director at the center. “Our publicly owned national forests should be a safe haven for wildlife. In the face of unprecedented global climate change and other threats to species, the Forest Service should be trying to strengthen, not weaken, protections for wildlife on our public lands.”