State Attorney General Bill Lockyer has filed a lawsuit to halt implementation of the Bush Administration´s new Sierra Nevada Framework proposal.
The original Framework plan was drafted during the Clinton Administration´s tenure and emphasized clearing out smaller trees and underbrush in the forest near existing communities. Lockyer spokesman Tom Dresslar says the Attorney General filed the lawsuit today because the new plan allows for the logging of large trees deep in the National Forest.
Dresslar says Lockyer believes the new plan actually increases the risk of wildfire by ignoring mandates in the original plan and focusing on the removal of larger, fire-resistant trees far away from homes.
Forest Service spokesman Matt Mathes says that while the new plan does allow for the removal of trees up to 30 inches in diameter, there are several restrictions in place before bigger trees could be removed.
The 2001 plan would have included prescribed burning, letting some wildfires burn, and cutting and clearing to reduce fuel loads when needed. The Sierra Nevada Framework plan encompasses 11.5 million acres of land in the Sierra in 11 different forests. The lawsuit was filed in Federal District court in Sacramento today. The lawsuit seeks to force the Department of Agriculture to return to the original plan.