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BLM Trashes Forests, Environmentalists Say

PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) - The U.S. Bureau of Land Management illegally revised its Western Oregon logging plan, opening protected old-growth forest to clear-cutting, threatening protected species and habitat, and did it in defiance of court orders that blasted the BLM's "deliberate and systematic refusal ... to comply with the laws protecting wildlife," 13 environmental groups claim in Federal Court.

This complaint involves "the Resource Management Plans of the Western Oregon BLM Districts of Salem, Eugene, Roseburg, Coos Bay, and Medford, and the Klamath Falls Resource Area of the Lakeview District, and accompanying final Environmental Impact Statement.

"The Western Oregon Plan Revisions, or WOPR, drastically change the management of BLM public forest land in Oregon. WOPR opens previously protected old-growth forests to clear-cut logging; it reduces the size of riparian reserves; and it eliminates Aquatic Conservation Strategy elements previously in place on these federal lands, including protections for key watersheds, required watershed analysis, and the duty to meet and maintain Aquatic Conservation Strategy objectives at all planning levels. WOPR fails to address scientific criticism and ignores the role of global warming and climate change in its analysis. Finally, WOPR fails to adequately explain the departure from the previous, scientifically justified land management plan."

Plaintiffs - Oregon Wild, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, Wilderness Society, Cascadia Wildlands Project, Environmental Protection Information Center, Center for Biological Diversity, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, Institute for Fisheries Resources, Greenpeace, Coast Range Association, American Lands Alliance, Umpqua Watersheds, and the Sierra Club - are represented by Kristen Boyles with Earthjustice in Seattle.

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