Federal forest management policy changes made by the Bush administration have been ruled illegal for not making proper environmental impact considerations.
"A federal district judge ruled Friday that the Bush administration illegally rewrote rules for managing 192 million acres of federally owned forests and grasslands in 2005 and must consider the environmental impact of its plan before offering another policy blueprint."
"The judge ordered the Forest Service to suspend its 2005 rule and subject it to a new round of analysis, taking into account environmental protections and public-participation requirements in the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Administrative Procedures Act."
"The battle between environmental groups and the administration over the forest rules centers on changes to environmental protections that had been in place since the Reagan administration. Under the old policy, the government had to maintain viable populations of native wildlife in forests and monitor some populations regularly, while limiting logging and drilling for oil and gas."
"The new rule - which gave economic activities as high a priority as maintaining the forest's ecological health - made it easier to conduct drilling and logging in national forests while weakening protections for native fish and wildlife. It also accelerated the process for approving forest-management plans, which can drag on for as long as seven years."