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Forest Service Delays Framework

The U.S. Forest Service is delaying until late January a decision that had been expected this month on a controversial revision of a Clinton-era plan to manage 11 million acres of the Sierra Nevada.

The sweeping Sierra Nevada Framework plan was approved in the waning days of the Clinton administration and ordered reviewed in the early days of the Bush administration.

Environmental groups say the revisions remove protections for wildlife and forests. Regional Forester Jack Blackwell says the changes would permit more thinning of fire-prone forests.

A spokesman says the delay will help the service do a better job of documenting the reasons for its decision. Environmental groups already are promising to challenge the revisions in court.