The U.S. Forest Service and environmentalists squared off before a federal appeals court in San Francisco Tuesday, arguing over post-fire logging plans west of Lake Tahoe.
At issue is an emergency order by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in November preventing the government-approved cutting of any trees with green foliage in an area damaged by fire in 2001.
The U.S. Forest Service and the logging company awarded the salvage project covering 1,700 acres urged a three-judge panel today to allow logging of the disputed timber to resume this spring, when weather permits.
Sierra Pacific Industries, the largest landowner in California, says hundreds of trees barred from being felled are dead and should be removed. They say a failure to do so could add to disease and potentially fuel new fires.
But environmentalists say the targeted trees are alive and should not be included in the salvage operation in Placer County.
It´s in a section of the Eldorado National Forest about 20 miles west of Lake Tahoe and south of Interstate 80 along the Upper Middle Fork of the American River.