The Owls Have It

November 19, 1993

Spotted owls have a friend in Washington.

Jack Ward Thomas, the U.S. Forest Service biologist who led the studies that produced a policy of reducing timber harvests in national forests to save the bird in the Pacific Northwest, was named to head the agency. Mr. Thomas is the first biologist to get the top job in the agency, which is within the Agriculture Department. He replaces a Reagan appointee, Dale Robertson, whom the Clinton administration forced out.

The appointment suggests a serious approach to conservation. The paper industry is understandably alarmed. It will take more than one appointment to show where the Clinton administration stands on conservation and development, but this looks like a refreshing start at balance.

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