Timber harvest draws criticism

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(Host) Three environmental groups have filed a lawsuit to block a timber harvest in the Green Mountain National Forest.

The U.S. Forest Service plans to cut one-million board feet of timber from about 300 acres of national forest in the towns of Rochester and Chittenden. The Forest Service plans to resume logging in the forest after a five year moratorium. Forest Service officials have said the logging operation won’t harm the environment.

Jim Northup is executive director of “Forest Watch” in Montpelier. He says the area should be protected because it includes sensitive streams and valuable scenic and recreation areas.

(Northup) “The thing that offends me most is the prejudice the Forest Service has shown for logging the area. The agency individually marked thousands of trees prior to asking the public whether or not it should go ahead with the timber sale. This means the Forest Service made up its mind to log the area before completing its required environmental reviews and regardless of what citizens had to say. Prejudicial actions like this are illegal and they betray the public’s trust in government. We’re suing to make sure this doesn’t happen again, at least not in Vermont.”

(Host) The suit was filed in federal court Tuesday. The Forest Conservation Council and the Friends of the Earth environmental group joined in the lawsuit.

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