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A $12 Million Plan to Save the Forests by Buying Them
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS . NY Times . 28 december 2001

SACRAMENTO, Dec. 27 (AP) — The Bush adminstration said today that it would put into effect a Clinton- era plan offering greater protection to old-growth woodlands in 11.5 million acres of national forests in the Sierra Nevada.

The news cheered environmentalists and disappointed loggers and others who hoped the Republican administration would throw out the management plan for 11 national forests in California and Nevada.

The ruling, by Mark Rey, under secretary of agriculture, upheld last month's Forest Service decision to reject appeals by loggers, ski resorts and off-road groups. The Agriculture Department oversees the Forest Service.

The plan took the Forest Service nine years and $12 million to creafte, and began in 1992 as an effort to protect the endangered spotted owl.

"It is the Forest Service's best effort to date to lay out a blueprint to manage the forests of the Sierra Nevada," Mr. Rey, a former timber lobbyist, said.

The plan adds safeguards for endangered species and bans logging of most trees larger than 20 inches in diameter.