Re: “Surprise attack on the spotted owl is Trump team’s parting shot at the Northwest” [Jan. 15, Local News]:

It’s disappointing but hardly surprising that in the waning days of the Trump administration, it is attacking yet another key environmental regulation that in this case is fundamental to old-growth forest protection in the Northwest.

With essentially no notice, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, a Trump minion and former oil and gas lobbyist, arbitrarily and capriciously opened up more than 3 million acres of spotted-owl habitat, primarily old growth, to logging.

Unlike the science-based decision decades ago to protect the owl and its old-growth habitat through the Northwest Forest Plan, this action dismayed wildlife biologists within U.S. Fish and Wildlife and elsewhere. It was a purely political decision, and we hope it can be reversed.

The spotted owl, despite the protected habitat it has already been afforded, is in decline, so it is a mystery how reducing the habitat it has will do anything but speed up that decline. No one in their right mind wants to reignite the owl wars of the late 20th century, but the Trump administration has thrived on chaos for years now and apparently hopes to extend that shameful legacy with this latest attack.

Harry Romberg, Seattle, WA Chapter Sierra Club, National Forests Committee co-chair