Court stops logging |

Court stops logging

SAN FRANCISCO ” A federal appeals court has barred logging in a Sierra Nevada forest.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says the federal government failed to explore other ways to raise money to fight forest fires when it approved a plan to award timber contracts to cut down trees on three sites in the Plumas National Forest.

The Forest Service says the logging of commercially valuable trees is needed to help pay for thinning of less desirable smaller trees and brush.

Environmental groups say the logging plan fails to protect scarce species such as the California spotted owl, marten and Pacific fisher.

“The Ninth Circuit understood that the old-growth logging at issue here may turn a profit, but will not make the Sierra any safer if there’s a fire,” said Greg Loarie, an attorney with Earthjustice representing the conservation groups, in a written statement. “We desperately need the Forest Service to turn its attention away from the big trees and back to Sierra communities.”

Attorney General Jerry Brown joined the environmental groups in appealing a lower court decision last year that authorized the government to allow the timber contracts.

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