Lawsuit seeks to block plans to spray herbicides near Yosemite
Wednesday, November 9, 2005
(11-09) 16:44 PST Fresno, Calif. (AP) --
A coalition of environmental groups has sued the U.S. Forest Service over its plans to spray herbicide by helicopter near Yosemite National Park.
The lawsuit, filed Friday in federal court in Fresno, seeks to block the Forest Service's plans to burn and spray about 4,300 acres in Stanislaus National Forest over ten years. The lawsuit says the agency's reforestation project would destroy important wildlife habitat.
The Larson Project aims to plant conifers on national forest land that was damaged in a 1987 fire. But environmentalists say the area has already developed a rich black oak forest with dependent wildlife.
"These oak lands are critical if we're going to have this wildlife," said Janet Cobb, president of the California Oak Foundation. "There are more than 300 species of animals and plants that depend on the black oaks there."
The lawsuit was filed by the foundation, the California Native Plant Society and Californians for Alternatives to Toxics.
Forest Service officials defended the project.
"We are careful stewards of forest life," said Jerry Snyder, a spokesman for Stanislaus National Forest. "The Larson Project has gone through a rigorous process for approval, and we are careful with the science and technology that we use in our national parks."
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