Court order to protect endangered owl suspends commercial wood cutting | KOB 4
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Court order to protect endangered owl suspends commercial wood cutting

Ryan Laughlin
October 11, 2019 06:53 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— An Arizona Court order to protect the Mexican Spotted Owl is putting commercial firewood businesses and other programs on hold.

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The U.S. Forest Service has had to halt services like prescribed burning, thinning, timber sales and stewardship contracts. Forest Service officials asked the court to resume work, saying the wood industry has a minimal impact on the Mexican Spotted Owl and more of an impact on the people who rely on wood cutting.

"We did hear a pretty large outcry to hopefully address the personal use fuel wood and luckily we were able to do that,” said a U.S. Forest Service spokesman.

The court has allowed personal fuel wood to be cut, but commercial wood cutting and other programs are suspended.

The Christmas tree for the U.S. Capitol is supposed to come from New Mexico this year, but as of now that project is on hold.

"It's a very, very great thing for New Mexico to have this project and I know that everybody from the Governor's office to different local communities are really excited about this,” the spokesman said.

U.S. Forest Service officials said they are confident the program will resume before the Christmas tree is supposed to be cut in November.

“Have this issue resolved and the project will continue as planned,” the spokesman said.

There has not yet been word on when the court will make its ruling.

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Ryan Laughlin

Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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