Trump-era rule change allowing the logging of old-growth forests violates laws, judge says

The Associated Press
August 31, 2023
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

PENDLETON, Oregon — A federal judge has found that a Trump-era rule change that allowed for the logging of old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest violates several laws. Judge Andrew Hallman found that the U.S. Forest Service violated the National Environmental Policy Act, the National Forest Management Act and the Endangered Species Act. The findings came in response to a lawsuit filed by multiple environmental groups over the change. Hallman recommended that the Forest Service’s environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact should be vacated. …The protection changed banned the harvesting of trees 21 inches or greater in diameter and instead emphasized maintaining a mix of trees, with trees at least 150 years old prioritized for protection and favoring fire-tolerant species. …The lawsuit, however, said the government’s environmental assessment didn’t adequately address scientific uncertainty surrounding the effectiveness of thinning, especially large trees, for reducing fire risk.

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