The northern spotted owl is on a slow but steady course toward extinction.

The northern spotted owl is on a slow but steady course toward extinction.

Todd Sonflieth / OPB

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Just days before a new administration takes over, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it would remove protections for 3.4 million acres of forest land currently considered critical habitat for the northern spotted owl.

The owl is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, and inspired bitter fights between the logging industry and environmentalists in the 1990s. Timber industry groups are hailing the rule change as a positive step, while conservationists say it could lead to extinction for the spotted owl.

We hear from Chris Cadwell, forester and natural resource analyst with the Association of O&C Counties and Susan Jane Brown, staff attorney at the Western Environmental Law Center.

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