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Congress Working on Forest Bill

Benito Baeza

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican-controlled House has approved a bill to sharply increase logging in national forests. Supporters say the bill would create jobs in rural communities, particularly in the West.

And it would help reduce wildfires and add hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue from additional timber sales. Opponents call the bill a giveaway to the timber industry and say it would harm water quality and habitat for fish and wildlife and would jeopardize recreation areas in national forests.

The White House has threatened to veto the bill, which was approved on a 244-173 vote. The Obama administration says the bill would jeopardize habitat for endangered species, increase lawsuits and limit the president’s ability to create national monuments. The measure is expected to die in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

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