House backs bill to speed logging of burned trees
The House has approved a wide-ranging bill that speeds logging of trees burned in last year's massive Rim Fire in California. The measure also allows vehicular access to North Carolina's Cape Hatteras National Seashore, extends livestock grazing permits on federal land in the West and lifts longstanding restrictions on canoes, rafts and other "hand-propelled" watercraft in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.
Republican Rep. Tom McClintock of California said the Rim Fire left behind thousands of acres of dead timber on federal land that could be sold to raise millions of dollars. The money could be used to replant and restore devastated forests.
Environmentalists say so-called salvage logging would destroy critical wildlife habitat and hamper forest recovery.
The House approved the bill Thursday, 220-194. It now goes to the Senate.
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