In support of the legal actions by Sierra Club and our allies, California’s Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against multiple timber projects poised to log pristine Sierra backcountry areas, and sent the case back to the lower court for further proceedings.
In 2005, the State of California and our coalition of conservation organizations filed back-to-back legal actions against the U.S. Forest Service, stating the agency violated the law when revising the 2001 Sierra Nevada Framework, a broadly supported management plan for 11 national forests in California. The revised plan quadrupled logging across the Sierra range, and shifted fire prevention resources away from communities.
In 2004, under the Bush administration, the Forest Service announced revisions to increase the amount of logging and limit protections for forests, water, and wildlife throughout the Sierra. The Forest Service had approved the original Sierra Nevada Forest Plan Amendment in January 2001, to direct the management of 11.5 million acres of California’s national forest lands. But the original plan was never implemented
Sierra Club’s Environmental Law Program Director Pat Gallagher endorsed the court’s action, saying, “The threat of climate change makes it doubly imperative that we protect wildlife like the Pacific fisher and many types of birds from destructive logging in the Sierra Nevada forests. We will continue to advocate for the fullest protection of the Sierra Nevada and its imperiled wildlife.”
Conservation groups listed on the challenge include: Sierra Forest Legacy, Natural Resources Defense Council, Center for Biological Diversity, and The Wilderness Society. The Sierra Club is represented by its Environmental Law Program and Earthjustice, a non-profit, public interest environmental law firm.
For more information and to see the Ninth Circuit Decision, go to: http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2011/05/26/09-17796.pdf