A federal appeals court has thrown out an agreement between environmentalists and the federal government that restored protections for rare species in old growth forests.
The Thursday ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was a victory for the timber industry, which was shut out of talks leading to the agreement. The appeals court found that such a significant change in forest management has to go through a public process.
The ruling is the latest in long-running court battles over the Northwest Forest Plan, which cut logging by 90 percent on Northwest national forests to protect fish and wildlife.
Federal agencies had proposed throwing out a provision known as Survey and Manage, which required them to look for 400 species of rare plants and animals before logging.