Administration cuts spotted owl habitat

GRANTS PASS, OR The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday it would cut by 23 percent the federal forest land designated as critical habitat for the owl in Washington, Oregon and Northern California. Designating critical habitat for protection is a requirement of the Endangered Species Act.

Meanwhile, owl numbers are dropping by 4 percent a year.

Conservation groups say the critical habitat designation and a new plan for restoring owl populations are contrary to the advice of leading scientists and are crafted to fulfill a Bush administration promise to the timber industry to increase logging.

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