From: Jeff Barnard, Associated Press
Published September 25, 2006 12:00 AM

Timber Company Appeals Ruling Restoring Forest Protections

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — An Oregon timber company has appealed the reinstatement of protections on 58.5 million acres of roadless areas in national forests, saying it should be able to continue logging trees burned in a 2002 wildfire in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.

Silver Creek Timber owner John West said he had no opinion on future logging in roadless areas, but felt he should be allowed finish the salvage project.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Laporte in San Francisco overturned the 2005 Bush administration rule that gave states a chance to seek logging, mining and drilling inside areas of national forests that have been untouched due to their remote and rugged terrain.

In 2001, the Clinton administration barred most logging and other development within roadless areas to protect them as prime fish and wildlife habitat and sources of clean water.

West said the Clinton rule allowed logging after fires.

U.S. Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey said the Bush administration was still considering whether to file its own appeal, but noted the government disagreed with a number of the findings, particularly the need to do an environmental impact statement.

Rey added that, so far, six federal judges have ruled on the Clinton roadless rule, three for and three against it, with no end in sight.

"By the time all is said and done there will be enough federal judges who have opined on the roadless rule so we could fill out a major league baseball lineup card and have plenty of judges left over for bench strength," Rey said from Washington.

Source: Associated Press

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