WASHINGTON - Two of Missouri's congressional members say they will fight efforts to close off 50,000 additional acres of the Mark Twain National Forest from logging.
The Missouri Wilderness Coalition is asking Congress to designate more of the forest as a wilderness area, saying the land is at risk for environmental damage by logging, mining and other threats.
The designation would prohibit the construction of roads or permanent structures and also prevent economic development.
But Republicans Roy Blunt and Jo Ann Emerson say that will prevent forest officials from clearing deadwood, which they say could encourage forest fires and the spread of pests that kill oak trees.
They note that 68,000 acres of the forest that spreads across southern Missouri is already designated a wilderness area.