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Airline travel and more disrupted by global tech outage; Nevada gets OK to sell federal public lands for affordable housing;Science Moms work to foster meaningful talks on climate change; Scientists reconsider net-zero pledges to reach climate goals.

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As Trump accepts nomination for President, delegates emphasize themes of unity and optimism envisioning 'new golden age.' But RNC convention was marked by strong opposition to LGBTQ rights, which both opened and closed the event.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

Update to Northwest Forest Plan expected soon

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Wednesday, May 29, 2024   

An update to the 30-year-old Northwest Forest Plan is expected soon. The plan has a been a critical tool for managing 19 million acres of federal forest lands in Oregon, California and Washington. In December, the U.S. Forest Service announced its intent to amend the plan, with a draft environment impact statement expected for release this summer.

Susan Jane Brown, chief legal counsel for the Oregon-based nonprofit environmental law firm Silvix Resources, said the biggest threat to forests when the plan was adopted in 1994 was logging.

"Today, it is much more about climate change and drought and insects and uncharacteristic wildfires that are a threat to these forests. So, we need to revise our expectations of how we're going to manage these lands," she explained.

Brown said the original plan came after years of clearcutting in the region's forests. The Northwest Forest Plan reduced logging by 75%. The Northwest has the most intact old-growth forests anywhere in the lower 48 states.

Bill Gaines, executive director of Washington Conservation Science Institute, said one threat to the region's forests is wildfires. He says the plan will have to find ways to address this.

"We're going to need to use tools like managed wildfire, prescribed fire, and so the management direction is going to have to allow for those tools to be applied in order to hang on to some old forests into the future. It's a real challenge," he explained.

Brown added the new amendment has potential to help the region.

"It's a really great opportunity that we have here to improve upon what was already pretty good to start with and to address not only the climate crisis but also the biodiversity crisis and to make sure that we include community perspectives and tribal perspectives that really just were not at the table the first time around," she continued.


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