Skip to comments.Calif. Supreme Court ruling favors timber company
Posted on 05/22/2008 8:04:24 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
The California Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a Northern California timber company that plans to clear-cut more than 1,000 acres in the Sierra Nevada.
In an unanimous ruling Thursday, the state's high court said the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection had acted properly in approving logging plans submitted by Sierra Pacific Industries.
Those plans call for clear-cutting about 1,100 acres near Calaveras Big Trees State Park in Calaveras County.
Sierra Pacific, California's largest private landowner, has indicated it wants to replicate the same forest-clearing practice on 70 percent of its holdings. The Anderson-based company owns 1.6 million acres in California and about 300,000 acres in Washington.
Two environmental groups argued that CDF did not adequately take into account the cumulative effect of the planned clear-cutting across all the company's land. They raised particular alarm about the company's plan to spray herbicides to control brush after replanting trees on clear-cut land, which results in a less diverse environment.
Environmentalists said Sierra Pacific's plans would harm rare wildlife like the California spotted owl and Pacific fisher that depends on older, more varied forests. They prevailed at the appellate level in 2006.
The Supreme Court overturned the appeals court decision, ruling that the state forestry department did consider the wider effects.
The logging plans "in fact devoted ample discussion to cumulative impacts on the two species at issue, on a much broader geographic scale, up to and including logging on all Sierra Pacific's forest lands in the Sierra Nevada," Justice Kathryn Werdegar wrote for the court.
The decision lets the company continue with its plans to replace substandard trees across much of its vast holdings over a 100-year period, said company spokesman Mark Pawlicki.
"It's a total victory for SPI and a stinging rebuke for anti-logging activists," Pawlicki said. "We will continue to press on with our management. We think our management is good for the forest."
John Buckley, executive director of the Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center in Twain Harte, said the justices ruled on technical grounds on whether the logging plans were properly reviewed, without addressing the larger environmental concerns raised by clear-cutting.
Buckley's organization filed the lawsuit along with Calaveras County-based Ebbetts Pass Forest Watch.
Forest Watch President John Trinkl said there is "mounting evidence that clear-cutting contributes to increased fire danger and global warming," along with other environmental problems.
The groups said they will continue fighting by other means to end clear-cutting. In years past that has included protests, physically blocking logging trucks and petitioning local and state officials.
The groups favor selective logging of individual trees to leave a more diverse forest.
Not to worry, the @ssclowns on the 9th circuit will overturn the ruling. <sarc
This is a good example of the enviros trying to stop logging even when the management plan is a good one. Lumber is a renewable resource and Sierra Pacific deserves credit for a decent plan to harvest it.
This can't be possible.
Trees are a damn crop, and the loggers know how to manage forests.
Trees are not people. Foresters have every incentive to manage their crop of trees on their land in a prudent fashion.
They are really no different than farmers in this regard.
What, No left wing ruling from the California Supremes. This must be investigated.
The head-shaking reality is that these people have no idea what kind of silly caricatures they have become.
As a human being, I find this embarrassing.