Logging Near Grand Canyon Targeted in Lawsuit by Environmental Groups

The Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity and WildEarth Guardians sued the federal government this week in an attempt to stop logging in a burned area north of the Grand Canyon.

The feds want to sell 9,114 acres of Kaibab National Forest that was burned in the 2006 Warm Fire to loggers, but the environmental groups claim the move will result in even worse damage:

"Burned forests are naturally recovering now, and logging will irreversibly harm that recovery," said Jay Lininger, a fire ecologist with the Center for Biological Diversity in Flagstaff. "Fire-killed trees are biological legacies that link the old forest with the new one. Logging them erodes soil and robs it of organic matter, spreads weeds, increases fire hazard, and destroys wildlife habitat that will take centuries to replace."

The groups say they've already stopped the U.S. Forest Service from completing a similar deal this year, which they say helped northern goshawks.

Logging after a fire must be another example of the Obama Administration's idea of not letting a crisis go to waste.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.