Protect Ancient Trees and Spotted Owls!

If the Bush Administration has its way, the northern spotted owl could go the way of the dodo.  It seems intent on using poor science to justify cutting down ancient trees and endangering the species within these old-growth forests.

America's old-growth forests in the great Pacific Northwest – with their ancient trees, cascading rivers, salmon, and spotted owls – deserve the highest form of protection. Instead, the Administration is trying to decrease the critical habitat that scientists say is necessary for recovery of the owl.

Please sign the petition telling Mr. Rey, Undersecretary of Agriculture in charge of our National Forests, to withdraw the faulty and misnamed “Draft Northern Spotted Owl Recovery Plan” immediately.  It failed a scientific peer review and is nothing more than a gift to Big Timber.

Dear Undersecretary of Agriculture Rey,

As the lead government official overseeing our nation's forests, you have a responsibility to the American people to uphold environmental laws, including those that ensure that species such as the northern spotted owl, marbled murrelet, coho salmon, and other species at risk of extinction have the chance to recover and thrive in the future.

Yet time after time we have seen new initiatives from the Bush Administration that seek to weaken environmental protections, subvert scientific opinion and splinter the cooperative spirit that conservationists, timber companies, and communities have made in charting a new management vision for our National Forests in the Pacific Northwest.

The latest of these is the fatally-flawed Northern Spotted Owl Recovery Plan. The owls' decline is evidence that we need to do more, not less, to protect this species and the old growth forests it inhabits. Yet the plan, which appears to be based on politics instead of science, would reduce habitat range for the owl.

I urge you in the strongest terms to withdraw this flawed "recovery" plan for the Northern Spotted Owl. Our public forest lands should provide the strongest protections for our natural heritage -- including owls.

With a little more than a year left in the Bush Administration, there's still time to chart a healthy vision for our nation’s forests. I'll be watching carefully to see if you do the right thing, or the politically expedient thing.

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