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Environmentalists line up against logging bill

Environmental groups say they fear the timber bill sponsored by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., will undercut the Endangered Species Act.

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — Environmental groups are lining up against Sen. Ron Wyden’s bill to promote logging on federal forests in Western Oregon to help struggling timber counties.

Leaders from 10 national environmental groups, including the Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council, signed a letter urging members of the Senate to oppose the bill.

They say its measures to streamline environmental reviews threaten the foundations of laws like the Endangered Species Act.

Leaders of 21 Oregon conservation groups sent a similar letter to Wyden’s fellow Oregon Democrat, Sen. Jeff Merkley.

Wyden spokesman Keith Chu says the bill has drawn opposition from interest groups on both sides of the issue, and the letters are not surprising in view of a committee hearing being held on the bill next week in Washington, D.C.



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