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Logging in Giant Sequoia National Monument?

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) __ California’s attorney general is suing the Bush administration over its plans for the Giant Sequoia National Monument, home to two-thirds of the world’s largest trees.

The San Francisco federal court suit alleges the U-S Forest Service plan would illegally allow commercial logging in the monument. It argues that former President Clinton’s April 2000 proclamation creating the reserve south of Sequoia National Park bans logging unless it is “clearly needed” for public or environmental protection, which it says isnĀ“t the case under the management plan adopted in December.

Spokesman Matt Mathes says the service adhered closely to Clinton’s proclamation. He says the timber cuts are needed for fire protection to safeguard sequoia groves that have been threatened before by wildfires. Mathes says sequoias evolved with fire, but the forest around them is now too unnaturally dense. Attorney General Bill Lockyer, in a statement, calls the sequoias “majestic guideposts to our history and treasured symbols of our state.”