Calif. justices reject timber challenge

By Chris Rizo | May 22, 2008

Kathryn Werdegar

SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline)-The California Supreme Court on Thursday rejected challenges to a timber company's plans to harvest trees on about 1,400 acres of private land in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

Two conservation groups- the Ebbetts Pass Forest Watch and the Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center-argued that Sierra Pacific Industries' timber harvest plans did not consider the cut plans on the California spotted owl and the Pacific fisher, a small mammal.

Although the California spotted owl is not listed as an endangered species, its cousin, the northern spotted owl, has been listed as a threatened species. U.S. environmental officials have the Pacific fisher classified as a species of concern.

The Redding, Calif.-based lumber company planned to harvest pine, fir and black oak trees on the land in Tuolumne County by clear-cutting most of the trees and then plant new trees to replace them to provide so-called even-aged forest management.

The justices ruled that the plans did not adequately consider the environmental impact of the cut.

In a unanimous decision written by Associate Justice Kathryn Werdegar, the high court reversed a appeals court decision that allowed for the cut, and remanded the case back to the lower court for consideration of points not decided by the justices.

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