Lawmakers to get update on impact of owl protection order | KOB 4
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Lawmakers to get update on impact of owl protection order

Kai Porter
October 17, 2019 05:49 PM

SILVER CITY, N.M.- An Arizona court order meant to protect an endangered owl is impacting New Mexico's national forests. The order put a stop to commercial wood cutting across the southwest.

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Lawmakers will get an update on the commercial wood-cutting ban's impact from a number of stake-holders at the Water and Natural Resources Committee Thursday and Friday. The first item on Friday’s agenda is the owl protection order.

A September court order out of Arizona aimed at protecting the endangered Mexican Spotted Owl has forced the U.S. Forest Service to stop all prescribed burning, thinning, and timber sales.

"I'll be here tomorrow to hear what they say,” said State Senator Ron Griggs (R-District 34.)

Griggs said he is worried about the impact the ban on commercial cutting will have.

"The hope is that we can do some things that just make sense for people,” he said. “I know there are folks that have differing opinion on owl habitat and all of that and I respect it. But I think what we've got to do is this sort of thing, was probably, no it wasn't probably, it was, it's just gone too far."

The U.S. Forest Service is asking the court to resume work on timber management saying commercial cutting will not impact the owl's habitat.

"For communities like Alamogordo, Cloudcroft, the people in the Gila and the guys up in the Santa Fe forest and the Cibola, all of those things are important to New Mexico citizens that would allow those activities to re-commence," Griggs said.

It is unclear when the court will make a decision.

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Kai Porter

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

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