States Sue Federal Gov't Over Forest Protections

Laurel Sutherlin

Laurel Sutherlin, an environmental protestor, hangs from a contraption of his own making. The log it is attached to blocks a bridge on the only road leading toward Mike's Gulch, a roadless area that the Forest Service has decided to open up for logging. Martin Kaste, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Martin Kaste, NPR

Logging has begun on the largest area of roadless forest in the state of Oregon, and the state's government is fuming.

When the Bush administration reversed the ban on building new roads on now roadless federal lands, it agreed to let the states decide which areas should remain protected, and which should be open to activities such as road-building, mining and oil and gas exploration.

But the federal government is allowing logging in Oregon and energy development in Colorado before either state has finished its plan for the roadless lands. Five states have gone to court in protest of the actions.

The job being undertaken in Oregon is relatively small, but it's causing a large controversy. National conservation groups see it as proof that the Bush administration is intent on opening more federal wild land to logging, mining and drilling.

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