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Bush Administration To Open Up More Forests For Logging

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The Agriculture Department is about to take an ax to Clinton-era regulations against logging in national forests.

Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman is expected to announce a major change today to a rule which blocks road building in remote areas of national forests to prevent logging and other commercial activity. Under the change, the nation´s governors would have to petition the federal government if they want to block construction in backcountry forests.

Environmentalists are outraged by the change, saying forests will lose their protection. Several Republican governors in the West have said the rule is an unnecessary restriction that has locked up millions of acres from logging and other economic development.