State

Jun 7, 2010 7:36 PM by Greg Boyce

Spotted owl decision upheld in court

An appeals court says a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision to designate 8.6 million acres in four Western states as critical habitat for an endangered owl will stand.

Friday's decision by a panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upholds a 2008 ruling by a federal judge in Phoenix. The ruling found that critical habitat in Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico for the Mexican spotted owl was designated correctly.

The Arizona Cattle Growers' Association argued that the government incorrectly designated lands as "occupied" by the owl and improperly analyzed the economic impacts of its actions. The designation is aimed at protecting the habitat from activities that remove forest cover, including logging, cattle grazing, urban sprawl or power lines.

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