24 Jun 2010, 11:22pm
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Fuels Reduction Project Held Up 17 Years - Still Waiting for OK

Public input sought on logging project

By Alex K.W. Shultz, The Porterville Recorder, June 2, 2010 [here]

An effort to move forward with a fuels reduction project which the Forest Service initiated about 17 years ago is underway.

The public has about two more weeks to submit comments pertaining to the controversial project.

The commenting session on the Revised Ice Timber Sale and Fuels Reduction Project began June 3 and ends July 6.

The Forest Service’s evaluation of a fuels-reduction project in the Ice analysis area — located in the Alta Sierra tract in the Greenhorn Mountains, an area in the southern portion of Sequoia National Forest, began in 1993 as a result of concerns expressed by homeowners regarding the fire danger posed by high fuel loadings and dense forest stands.

An environmental assessment for the project was completed in April 1994, and a timber sale was offered in August 1995. However, the project as originally designed was not economically viable, and there were no bidders on the timber sale, according to Sequoia National Forest documents released for public review.

The Forest Service went back to the drawing board and drew up a revised version of the original project to make the timber sale economically feasible. The contract was awarded in November 1999 to Sierra Forest Products in Terra Bella.

Sierra Forest Products initiated contract operations in the Ice area in August 2005.

In October 2006, however, the company’s logging operations were halted by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer until “the Forest Service prepares a supplemental National Environmental Policy Act review of the significant new information related to the potential effect of the timber contracts on the habitat and environment of the Pacific fisher.” …

The Forest Supervisor will make any necessary changes to the revised project before it goes back to court. In the end, it will be up to a judge to decide whether to re-activate the suspended contract. … [more]



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