A federal appeals court has ruled that a Lake Tahoe area forest ravaged by fire in 2001 cannot be logged despite government fears of renewed fire danger.
A three-judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals faulted federal forest officials for approving the cutting plan.
The panel says it´s not clear if the trees targeted for salvage logging were really dead. The ruling also says forest officials failed to adequately consider the plight of the California spotted owl and other environmental concerns.
The U.S. Forest Service said the burned 1,700 acre area was so ravaged that it was no longer attractive to the owls. Environmental group Earth Island Institute sued to block the project, alleging there were owls still in the area.