The Oregonian today reports on an unexpected consequence of a tight federal budget:  the US Forest Service doesn’t have enough money to prepare timber sales in old-growth forests.

From the article:

[T}he administration and Congress are starving the U.S. Forest Service of money to plan sales of the big trees, and fight the inevitable appeals and lawsuits by their defenders. Forest managers say they are no longer pouring their shrinking funds into thankless conflicts they rarely win.

"We can’t afford expensive timber sales—the kind where controversy is engendered," said Gary Larsen, supervisor of the Mount Hood National Forest. "We’re trying to find those where people can agree on the benefits."

Nifty:  we can save money and old-growth in one step.  How come it took so long to figure this out?