Supreme Court ruling favors timber company
SACRAMENTO – The California Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a Northern California timber company that seeks to clear-cut more than 1,000 acres in the Sierra foothills.
Sierra Pacific Industries, 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.
In a unanimous ruling Thursday, the state’s high court said the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection had acted properly in approving plans submitted by Sierra Pacific.
Those plans were for clear-cutting about 1,100 acres near Calaveras Big Trees State Park in Calaveras County.
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 spraying herbicides to control brush and replanting clear-cut forests at the same time, which results in a less diverse environment.
Environmentalists said Sierra Pacific’s plan would harm rare wildlife that depends on older, more varied forests. They prevailed at the appellate level in 2006.
The Supreme Court overturned that decision, ruling that the state forestry department did consider the wider effects.