Federal judge rejects Forest Service plan to log in national monument

A federal judge put the smackdown yesterday on a U.S. Forest Service plan to allow increased logging in California’s Giant Sequoia National Monument, home to about two-thirds of the world’s largest trees. U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer said the USFS forest management plan lacked “coherent or clear guidance” and “trampled the applicable environmental laws”; he called for the USFS to write a new plan and conduct further environmental review. California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, who brought the suit, called Breyer’s ruling “a resounding victory for the giant sequoias” and “a resounding defeat for the Bush administration, which aggressively sought to unravel the protections.” In a separate ruling, Breyer halted further logging in four areas in and around the monument, pending further study of the effects on the rare Pacific fisher, a member of the weasel family. A USFS spokesflack said the agency was “very disappointed” with the rulings and may appeal.