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OPB: "More Protection On The Way For Spotted Owl"

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March 22, 2006 -- Environmentalists and the Washington Department of Natural Resources have settled a contentious lawsuit. The deal means more protection for the Northern Spotted Owl.

http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/opb/news.newsmainaction=article&ARTICLE_ID=892939

By Austin Jenkins for Oregon Public Broadcasting

OLYMPIA, WA - Environmentalists and the Washington Department of Natural Resources have settled a contentious lawsuit. The deal means more protection for the Northern Spotted Owl. Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports.

There are several key provisions to the settlement. Chief among them is an agreement by DNR not to log 42-thousand acres of high quality Spotted Owl habitat in Western Washington.

Becky Kelley is with the Washington Environmental Council, which brought the lawsuit.

Becky Kelley: "I can't tell you that Owl 6935 is going to live for two years longer, but I can tell you that we have protected thousands of acres of habitat that could have been logged and that is very likely to help some individual owls in Washington in the short-term."

The lawsuit was filed in 2004 after DNR approved a new ten-year plan for logging on nearly a million and a half acres of state land in Western Washington. Money from those timber harvests goes to support school construction and other public services.

The DNR says it would have cost too much time and money to fight the lawsuit in court.