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SANTA FE, NM—Reps. Gail Armstrong (R-Magdalena) and Rebecca Dow (R-Truth or Consequences) released the following statement in response to a recent order issued by U.S. District Judge Raner Collins directing the U.S. Forest Service to cease all timber management activities on all national forest in New Mexico as well as the Tonto National Forest in Arizona pending formal consultation regarding the Mexican Spotted Owl. The judicial directive was issued as part of an ongoing lawsuit brought by WildEarth Guardians, a Santa Fe-based environmental group.

“This is yet another example of judicial overreach. Most of us are interested in balanced conservation measures that care for our wildlife and the habitat they live in. There is nothing balanced about this ruling.

“Many of our rural families depend on fuelwood to heat their homes throughout the fall, winter, and spring months. Those families and the businesses that provide fuel for heating already adhere to rules and regulations designed to manage the habitat.

“The only ones served by these lawsuits pushed by radical environmental groups are lawyers. Our rural communities are dying, and instead of protecting endangered species habitat, extreme environmental policies have jeopardized habitat by leaving it vulnerable to forest fire and insect infestation.

“We can develop reasonable solutions that preserve our way of life and maintain the health of our landscapes if we work together to find a better way. Unfortunately, this ruling will only serve to inflame emotions on both sides of this issue.”

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