Magistrate recommends vacating Ore. logging plan

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GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) -- A federal magistrate has recommended vacating a Bush administration plan to double the amount of logging on some federal lands in Western Oregon.

U.S. Magistrate Judge James Hubel in Portland found Thursday that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management failed to properly consult federal biologists over the potential harm to endangered species like the northern spotted owl before adopting the Western Oregon Plan Revision, known as the WOPR.

His finding must still be approved by a federal judge.

Conservation groups said they looked forward to returning to a more balanced approach to managing federal lands to protect fish and wildlife.

Timber industry spokesman Tom Partin said they were disappointed with the outcome, because it meant fewer timber jobs and less money for rural counties that share in federal timber revenues.