The Obama administration says new rules to manage nearly 200 million acres of national forests will protect watersheds and wildlife while promoting uses ranging from recreation to logging.
The new rules, to replace guidelines thrown out by a federal court in 2009, are set to take effect in early March. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the rule change on Thursday.
Jane Danowitz, U.S. public lands director for the Pew Environment Group, said national forests are the source of drinking water for one in three Americans, are home to fish and other wildlife and are an economic engine for local communities across the West.
"Faced with unprecedented threats from industrial development, these national forests need strong national protections," she said, adding that the new framework for forest management appears to reflect comments from scientists, the business community and conservation advocates.
"The plan now has stronger safeguards than what was originally proposed. That said, the true test of this plan will be how it's implemented on the ground," Danowitz said.
Read the full article, Obama Admin Says New Forest Rules Stress Science, on the Washington Post website.