Obama administration inches away from 'time out' for roadless forest logging


This month, the Agriculture Department returned to the Forest Service the authority to undertake certain projects in roadless forests without the secretary's approval.

Specifically, local land managers are now free to approve the "cutting, sale, or removal of generally small diameter timber when needed for one of the following purposes:

…That's according to a letter (PDF) from Joel Holtrop, deputy chief of the national forest system, to regional and local forest officials.

"I remind you that our intent is to protect and conserve roadless areas while permitting important restoration and management activities to go forward," wrote Holtrop.

It's unclear what practical impact the re-delegation of authority will have on forests in Oregon and elsewhere around the West.