[JURIST] A three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] on Friday rejected a US government plan [PDF opinion] that would have allowed vast undeveloped areas of the country's largest national forest to be open to logging. The Tongass National Forest [official website] in southern Alaska covers almost 17 million acres and is the world's largest untouched temperate rain forest. Environmental groups had filed suit, arguing the plan broke a public trust established nearly one hundred years earlier, regardless of increased market demand for Tongass timber. The appeals court agreed and found that the government's "error in assessing market demand fatally infected its balance of economic and environmental considerations, rendering the plan for the Tongass arbitrary and capricious." The case now returns to the district court with a request for a permanent injunction to be applied. Reuters has more.