Federal judge rejects Bush plan to log inside Sequoia National Monument


SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge ruled Tuesday that a Bush administration plan to allow commercial logging inside the Giant Sequoia National Monument violates environmental laws.

U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer sided with environmental groups that sued the U.S. Forest Service over its plans for managing the 328,000-acre preserve, home to two-thirds of the world's largest trees.

Breyer had issued a preliminary injunction in September 2005 to halt further logging in the national monument created by President Clinton in 2000.

In the lawsuit filed last year, the Sierra Club and other conservation groups said the management plan for the reserve in the southern Sierra Nevada range was a scientifically suspect strategy that was intended to satisfy timber interests under the guise of wildfire prevention.

The Forest Service had said the plan to allow thinning of some trees was aimed at meeting fire prevention goals.