Pacific Logjam?

Democrats and environmentalists in the Pacific Northwest are outraged over what they say is a campaign by the Bush administration to undermine the Endangered Species Act. They say the administration is blocking efforts to assist loggers whose business has been curtailed to protect the habitat of the spotted owl. Critics charge that the Forest Service, at the request of the White House, shelved a report on ways to cushion the blow to loggers. And, they say, the administration has rejected proposals to help timber-industry towns diversify. "The administration wants a disaster" to justify weakening the ESA, says Oregon's Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio. "Preposterous," says Interior Secretary Manuel Lujan.