SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A federal appeals court has barred logging in the Sierra Nevada forest.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says the federal government failed to explore other ways to raise money to fight forest fires when it approved a plan to award timber contracts to cut down trees on three sites.
The Forest Service says the logging of commercially valuable trees is needed to help pay for thinning of less desirable smaller trees and brush.
Environmental groups say the logging plan fails to protect scarce species such as the California spotted owl, martin and Pacific fisher. Attorney General Jerry Brown joined the environmental groups in appealing a lower court decision last year that authorized the government to allow the timber contracts.
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