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Group sues U.S. over forest plan

By Jane Braxton Little -- Bee Correspondent
Published 2:15 a.m. PST Friday, March 14, 2003

QUINCY -- Frustrated by a decade of "bureaucratic impediments" to its experimental plan for managing three national forests, the Quincy Library Group is suing the U.S. Forest Service and four federal officials.
The 64-page lawsuit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Sacramento, asks the court to set aside and replace the Sierra Nevada Framework, a management plan for the entire Sierra Nevada adopted in January 2001.

The framework violates various federal laws, including the 1897 Organic Act, by failing to consider a continual supply of timber as a goal, the lawsuit states. Decisions adopted as part of the framework repeatedly "sacrifice the economic efficiency" of traditional timber sales, the suit states, instead imposing costlier processes aimed at protecting the California spotted owl and other forest resources.

Those decisions also violate the 1999 Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group Act, the suit states. Inspired by the coalition of local timber industry, civic and business leaders known as the Quincy Library Group, the act authorizes annual timber harvests on 8,700 acres and thinning on an additional 60,000 acres to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire.

The lawsuit blames the framework for limiting the scale and pace of logging, and causing a buildup of fuels.

The slowdown has resulted in an economic "death spiral" for local communities, said Quincy attorney Michael B. Jackson, a coalition co-founder who filed the lawsuit.

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