Documents released on April 18, 2003, in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by Earthjustice on behalf of Biodiversity Northwest, Northwest Ecosystem Alliance, and Oregon Natural Resources Council reveal an aggressive timber industry campaign to increase the amount of timber cut from Northwest federal forests by weakening protections for salmon, clean water, and old-growth forest ecosystems. The Bush administration has not only agreed to all of industry’s demands, it has also proceeded in precisely the way advocated by the industry: (1) it has agreed to sweeping changes in forest management in secret settlements of friendly industry lawsuits; (2) it has agreed to changes in the management of aquatic resources in order to undo court rulings that require greater protection; and (3) it has appointed Mark Rutzick, the lead attorney for the timber industry in the litigation and settlement negotiations, as a senior adviser to the general counsel of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration with responsibility for Pacific salmon protected under the Endangered Species Act. In short, the timber industry has directed a major rewrite of the rules and has the people in place to continue down this path.
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