02/11/2011 - The Obama administration unveiled a proposal Thursday to give directors of national forests more discretion over managing endangered wildlife, reversing decades-old rules that left the sensitive decisions to officials in Washington.
U.S. Forest Service officials said the proposed rules also would expand the definition of protected wildlife to plants and better preserve clean water on some of the nation's most pristine lands.
But environmentalists said the 94-page proposal would water down strongly written wildlife protections adopted nearly 30 years ago by the Reagan administration.
At the Pew Environment Group, Jane Danowitz, director of U.S. public lands, expressed dissatisfaction. "Here we are talking about wanting to make sure some of the safeguards of the Reagan administration stay in place," Danowitz said.
"Clearly, in terms of wildlife protection, it is disappointing that they have been weakened under this proposal," she said, referring to the more decentralized decision-making.
Read the full article National Forests Plan Would Expand Local Discretion over Wildlife Management on The Washington Post's Web site.