Big groups drop appeal

  Big groups

drop appeal

Eleven environmental groups, including the Wilderness Society and National Audubon Society, have decided not to appeal a recent federal court decision upholding President Clinton's Pacific Northwest forest plan, known as Option Nine. While the groups agree the plan fails to protect and restore the heavily logged ecosystem, they say they'll focus on enforcement. Todd True, a lawyer for the groups, declined to discuss what specific factors contributed to the decision. Only three smaller environmental groups and one from the timber industry say they will challenge Judge William Dwyer's decision. Tim Hermach, whose Native Forest Council intends to appeal the plan, calls the decision by major environmental organizations "an unconscionable capitulation" to the timber industry. He says the groups are afraid of further angering Congress or appearing too stubborn. The forest plan includes a reduced yearly harvest of 1 billion board-feet of timber from forests containing spotted owls, $1.2 billion to fund alternative industries in the area, no-logging zones around vulnerable habitats, and an acceleration of salvage cuts. - Elizabeth Manning

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