Mexican spotted owls on Tuesday were given a “safe house” of millions of acres of Arizona land to protect them from extinction, a move that will further restrict logging and other development in the state.
Environmental groups and business interests have spent years battling over the issue. But a reluctant U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, after losing a crucial appeal late last week, complied with a federal court order to designate areas in the Southwest as critical habitat for the threatened owl.
The move to set aside 4.6 million acres of mostly federal lands likely will limit - but not stop - development on land in Arizona, New Mexico and parts of Utah and Colorado.