Appeals court halts logging in California forest

In a resounding repudiation of the Bush administration's national forest management, a three-judge federal panel has ordered a halt to three major logging projects in the Plumas National Forest.

Logging had been set to begin June 1 but now cannot go forward until an environmental impact assessment conforms to a Clinton administration forest management plan, the panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said.

Judge John T. Noonan Jr. wrote the opinion and also a concurrence that says the U.S. Forest Service has an inherent conflict of interest when it sells large trees to finance fire protection efforts, as called for under the Bush plan.

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