Ban may stop cutting of Capitol Christmas tree in New Mexico

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TAOS, N.M. (AP) — A tree to be displayed outside the U.S. Capitol building over the holidays is supposed to come from a New Mexico forest.

That’s if the U.S. Forest Service can get an exception from a tree-cutting ban across all New Mexico national forests and one in Arizona. The agency says it’s trying.

The ban came in a 2013 lawsuit filed by WildEarth Guardians that accused the Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of failing to track the threatened Mexican spotted owl for more than 20 years.

A federal judge has OK’d personal firewood permits but sidelined other timber management activities.

The Capitol Christmas Tree is scheduled to be cut from Carson National Forest early next month.

WildEarth Guardians says the ban wouldn’t prevent that from happening.

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