Plan for "guaranteed logging zones" riles environmentalists

The B.C. government was accused Wednesday of using the mountain pine beetle to sidestep hard-won environmental protections.

The province is making plans to establish commercial forest reserves, where intensive logging would make more timber available for sawmills once the beetle-killed logs they are now milling are gone.

Some environmental restrictions could be lifted on those lands, Forests Minister Pat Bell said earlier this week. Ken Wu, of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, said the province's plans would create what he termed "guaranteed logging zones" on portions of Crown forestlands.