From the Santa Fe New Mexican…. Excerpt:
An environmental advocacy group has agreed to drop its pending lawsuit that accused federal agencies of planning forestry projects that could harm the Mexican spotted owl.
The bird’s nesting grounds on national forest land in New Mexico and Arizona have become hotly contested battlegrounds. A separate complaint alleging federal agencies failed to properly monitor the threatened owl prompted a federal judge to halt timber activities in owl habitat last year.
Framed as “a new understanding,” a truce was reached this week between the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the states of New Mexico and Arizona, and the Eastern Arizona Counties Organization.
In return for the Center for Biological Diversity scrapping its litigation, the Forest Service has ensured tree-thinning and controlled burns in six national forests in New Mexico and Arizona will better protect the Mexican spotted owl, which has been listed as threatened since 1993 under the Endangered Species Act.