Back to the future in northwest federal forests

northern spotted owlInterior Secretary Ken Salazar today announced the withdrawal of the Bush administration’s last-minute revisions of the Northwest Forest Plan. Interior will also ask a federal court to vacate the 2008 modification of critical habitat for the northern spotted owl, and will review the 2008 spotted owl recovery plan, heavily criticized by outside scientists, which was used to justify the changes to critical habitat and the Northwest Forest Plan. Salazar explained that the Bush Plan revisions had been adopted without satisfying the consultation requirements of the ESA, and that the recovery plan had been unduly influenced by Bush political appointee Julie MacDonald. (This lengthy report issued by the Interior Inspector General late last year detailed MacDonald’s role in preparation of the owl recovery plan and many other ESA implementation actions.)

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