The Department of the Interior has told a federal court that it will not defend the Bush administration's decision to cut back protections for the northern spotted owl.
The action could affect logging in western Oregon.
The department made the notification in a motion filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.
Interior Department lawyers said in the motion that the decision was based on an inspector general's report finding there was political interference in owl protections by a former deputy assistant interior secretary.
Withdrawal of the Bush administration measures on the spotted owl measures would make it difficult for the federal Bureau of Land Management to go ahead with plans to boost logging in western Oregon.