Judge Blocks California Sequoia Logging Project
SAN FRANCISCO A federal judge temporarily barred a logging project Monday that would have included a small section of California's Giant Sequoia National Monument.
The plan in question would thin trees across 1,322 acres , of which under a quarter are within the Giant Sequoia National Monument, in an effort to protect a small local community against forest fires, said Matt Mathes, a spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service in California.
The Monument spans 328,000 acres that are home to two-thirds of all sequoia trees in the world.
Several environmental groups sued to block the project, known as the "Ice Timber Sale", one of 11 grandfathered into a Clinton administration proclamation banning logging there starting in 2000.
In his Monday decision, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer granted the request for an injunction, saying the project's potential effect on wildlife had not been properly considered.
"The court finds that the Forest Service has failed to show the adequate degree of care in considering this information and evaluating its impact," he wrote.
Monday's decision is separate from a larger legal battle in which California and environmental groups are suing the Bush administration over a plan to allow timber harvesting in the preserve.