Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Audit Shows Most Forest Thinning Goes Unchallenged.(Final)

Byline: Tania Soussan Journal Staff Writer

* Politicians divided on outcome of report

Almost all U.S. Forest Service projects aimed at reducing wildfire risks went forward without lengthy delays from environmental challenges, a congressional audit found.

"It makes clear that the vast majority of forest thinning projects that have taken place in the last couple of years were undertaken without any major delay," said Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., who requested the audit released Wednesday.

Republicans disagreed, saying the report actually supports their view that changes are needed.

The report came as the House prepared to consider a Republican proposal to ease environmental reviews of forest fuel-reduction projects and to limit appeals of such projects. …

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