USDA Forest Service

Roadless rule limited to 10 states

A federal magistrate judge in San Francisco is scaling back her decision to reinstate a ban against new road construction in national forests. Judge Elizabeth Laporte two years ago invalidated a Bush administration rule that overturned the ban protecting federal land in about 40 states. Laporte yesterday reduced the geographic scope of her 2006 ruling, so the road construction ban would only apply to national forests in 10 western states.

Voters approve conservation initiatives worth $7.3B

Funding for voter-approved land conservation capped a record-breaking year on Tuesday, with voters demonstrating substantial support for open space ballot measures despite the current economic and fiscal crisis facing the nation, according to The Trust for Public Land. Voters backed 62 of the 87 (71 percent) conservation finance measures on ballots across America, generating a single-day record of $7.3 billion in new funding for parks and open space.

GA looks to give tax relief to tree farmers

A state Constitutional amendment in Georgia that would give property tax relief to tree farmers is getting endorsements ranging from the Georgia Chamber of Commerce to the Sierra Club. Amendment No. 1 on the General Election ballot would change the way forest land of more than 2,000 acres is assessed. Instead of fair-market value, the land would be taxed based on its actual use.

Lawsuit filed over Canadian timber agreement

Environmentalists are filing a lawsuit this week against the federal government for what they say was an illegal and unfair agreement with Canadian leaders to settle a dispute over timber sales. The environmental groups Conservation Northwest and the Center for Biological Diversity are filing their suit in U.S. District Court in Seattle and in the U.S. Court of International Trade in New York. The suit is focused on two of the three beneficiaries of the tariff deal -- the U.S.