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Bush Forest Plan Criticized

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The Bush administration´s proposal to increase logging in national forests to reduce the risk of fire is reminiscent of a controversial 1995 plan to increase so-called salvage logging and will trigger similar opposition. That´s what environmentalists said today.

At a conference call with reporters, environmentalists and a former Clinton administration official said the Bush plan reminds them of a “salvage rider” that temporarily suspended environmental laws to expedite the sale of fire-damaged timber in national forests to reduce the risk of future fires.

The rider, approved by a Republican-controlled Congress and signed by President Clinton, ushered in a revival of old-growth timber sales in the Northwest that had been withdrawn because of environmental concerns. Critics call the Bush plan a sort of sequel to the 1995 effort. Debate on the forest proposal could begin this week.

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