The reduced number of logs had an economic impact in the entire forest products industry and in dozens of communities in the Northwest. In , the Forest Service proposed to withhold from sale 2, acres of forest for each of the known nesting pairs of owls. This launched a debate over whether the measures were too restrictive on the forest products industry or not enough to protect the owls, with conflicting arguments and contradictory evidence.
After much discussion and public comment, a final management plan was adopted in December Also in December , the U. Fish and Wildlife Service declined to list the northern spotted owl under the Endangered Species Act. In the litigation, the agency admitted that it had taken into account economics and politics in its decision not to list.
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By law, economics and politics are not to be considered in listing a species. Most Northwest timber sales simply stopped and loggers and mill workers were laid off. Loggers and mill workers blamed environmentalists and the owl for the loss of jobs. Environmentalists blamed mechanization and log exports for the unemployment. Protests grew violent in some areas. Courts entered the dispute with decisions to resume or halt timber sales.
The losing side appealed nearly every decision.
This impacted private and tribal lands in addition to federal lands since any "taking" of a species anywhere was prohibited. Taking included the loss of any habitat. The Fish and Wildlife Service delayed implementation until plans could be developed. On March 7, , U. Hadidian J. Fox C. Jonsen A. The Birth of Bioethics. New York. NY : Oxford University Press. Kuhse H. What is Bioethics? A Historical Introduction. Singer Eds. A Companion to Bioethics pp.
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