Friday, January 13, 2006

Judge Kicks Bushco's Butt, Trees Win

In a sharp rebuke to the Bush administration's changes to existing National Forest policy, U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman has deemed the modifications illegal.

SEATTLE, Washington, January 11, 2006 (ENS) - In a victory for environmental groups, a federal court has declared illegal a Bush administration's decision to eliminate safeguards for old growth forests and the rare plants and animals that inhabit them.

The Survey and Manage plan had served the purpose of controlling logging to protect the multitude of species living in the old growth forests.    

In March 2004, the Bush administration eliminated the Survey and Manage standard - a central part of the Northwest Forest Plan, since it was adopted nearly 10 years ago. The Plan was declared to be legal in 1995 in part because the Survey and Manage standard gave federal officials some assurance that wildlife in the forests would be adequately protected from logging.  A fundamental principle of the survey and manage rules is to protect habitat for threatened wildlife to prevent the animals and birds from becoming endangered.

Over one thousand species living in the forests would be protected by the standard.  But limits on logging gave rise to a lawsuit by the logging industry.  And Bushco answered the call.

Pete Frost of the Western Environmental Law Center:

Frost says the Bush administration attempted to eliminate the Survey and Manage standard along with other safeguards as part of a settlement agreement with the logging industry over a lawsuit logging interests filed in 2001.

Before a judge could rule on the merits of the case, the Bush administration agreed to the demands of the logging industry by removing the Survey and Manage standard.

Industry calls and Bushco answers the need.  Have we heard this theme before?  Oh, once or twice.

In rendering the present decision, Judge Pechman ordered sales stopped that could be potentially dangerous to numerous species.      

The judge ordered a halt to 144 timber sales in California, Oregon, and Washington that might jeopardize about 300 species of animals and plants.


So this week, Judge Pechman wins immunity and Preznit Dubya gets voted off the island. The tribe has spoken.


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