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Environmentalists move toward lawsuit over fuel break plan

In this photo provided by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, U.S. Forest Service Hot...
In this photo provided by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, U.S. Forest Service Hot Shot crew members from Ojai, Calif., head down a fire break to work off E. Camino Cielo in Santa Barbara, Calif., Sunday morning, Dec. 17, 2017. (Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department via AP)(Mike Eliason | AP)
Published: Jan. 14, 2021 at 10:42 AM MST
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RENO, Nev. (AP) — Environmentalists have filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. government to block plans to build up to 11,000 miles of fuel breaks they contend would violate the Endangered Species Act in six western states.

Four conservation groups say the Bureau of Land Management’s project would be shielded from legitimate review under last-minute moves by the outgoing Trump administration.

The critics say the fuel breaks intended to slow the advance of wildfires are planned in conjunction with widespread clearcutting, herbicide spraying, grazing, and prescribed fire.

The bureau counters that the project will allow land managers to select the approaches that make sense for their specific communities and landscapes.

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