Forest clear-cutting can move ahead |

Forest clear-cutting can move ahead

Three timber harvest projects by Sierra Pacific Industries can move forward in Tuolomne County after a state Supreme Court judge ruled the company’s environmental review processes to protect the Pacific fisher and California spotted owl were adequate.

“It affirms our practices. It was a total victory for us,” said Mark Pawlicki, spokesman for the timber company.

It is the ninth such victory for the logging company in a history of suits brought forward by Ebbetts Pass Forest Watch, a coalition of forest and watershed groups.

The ruling means Sierra Pacific will continue to clear-cut and spray herbicides on forest land near Calaveras Big Trees State Park, the group said.

The Pacific fisher is a reclusive member of the weasel family that, like the spotted owl, inhabits old-growth forests. The fisher once ranged from British Columbia through Northern California, but was trapped nearly to extinction.

The environmental groups had argued Sierra Pacific’s environmental reviews had failed to fully assess the impact of the company’s harvesting practices on the environment.

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