Forestry and the Corporate Imperative (Fwd)

KMorrisD kmorrisd at
Wed Jun 24 22:13:35 EST 1998


I don't have stats for global or regional clearcutting, but am looking to find
some.  By the way, I think the 60's or 70's would be better benchmarks because
the overcutting really began in the early 80's.  Concerning Maxxam, you can get
information on that specific company's overcutting at  

But my main argument is less with clearcutting per se than with how Maxxam and
other big timber corps are going about it.  Below are some quotes about
Maxxam's practices from people in Humboldt County.  More quotes are on the
website referenced above.

Concerning your point about raising capital, I won't argue that corporations
are not effective at this, but is that the most important thing in life?  What
does it matter if your environment is collapsing around you from how all that
capital is used?  No, I don't propose to rid the world of capitalism, I would
just like capitalists to be more responsible and accountable.

I'd like to see corporate charters revoked every now and then--like back in the
1800's before corporate lawyers had their way with our judicial system.  I'd
also like to see all big corporations, timber included, required to post
performance bonds/deposits for all their activities.  We consulting foresters
do this all the time with loggers and lumber companies.  It's very effective.  

If this were the practice, Maxxam (or its insurance company) would have to pay
for restoration of all those hillsides that have washed away, plus clean the
silt out of all the rivers, plus pay the medical bills of all the people who
suffer from herbicide toxicity.

If Maxxam and other corps had to post performance bonds against all their
potential damages, I believe they would think twice before doing the insane
stuff they do.  I think we'd have less global warming; we'd have a secure ozone
layer; our food would have less pesticides, herbicides, fungicides,
preservatives, additives, genetic mutilations, sewage sludge, hormones and
antibiotics; the list could go on and on.

Karl Davies, Consulting Forester
Northampton, MA

Here are those quotes: 

"What really concerns me is the quality of the drinking water. The
siltation to our river. All the swimming holes my kids played in started
disappearing three years ago, now they're gone completely, filled with
silt. My belief is the cause is all the clearcutting. PL has trashed my
river and trashed my road. This isn't the nice piece of paradise we've had
for years. It's going to flood from now on because of siltation."
Christina Pasteris-Elk River, Age 50,  2nd generation Humboldt County.
Eureka Girl Scout troop leader 1976-1986.

"I'm glad the people in the community are getting to see that Hurwitz and
PL are operating in nobody's interest but their own. The county bears the
consequences. And now the consequences include spraying poisons in our
watershed. Tom Herman, PL's second in command, denied our request to
discontinue use of these toxic chemicals."
Peter Kayes- Hydesville, resident since 1969, worked at PL 15 years,
currently employed at Redwood Memorial Hospital.

"It's absurd that we allow business practices to pollute ground water, our
most precious resource. As a health advocate, I am outraged by the routine
use of herbicides. The potential for contaminated water sources and for
long term health effects is enormous."
Leslie Blasewitz, RN, MS, Freshwater

"Fifteen years ago there was a living river here with abundant fish. Today
we have a dying river, very few fish and continual flooding. The only major
change has been the purchase of our upstream neighbor, Pacific Lumber Co.,
by Maxxam. We have drawn our own conclusions and are beginning to sue the
Maxxam Corporation."
Marianne de Sobrino-Elk River, resident since 1988, retired employment

"Three years ago Maxxam started logging heavily in Freshwater Creek and
have since accelerated their pace. It's had a phenomenal impact on our
small watershed, a marked increase of creek sediment, severely increased
flooding and a dramatic decline in fish population. When the concerned
residents met with PL and spoke with them about our concerns, PL wrote a
letter to the Board of Forestry calling us Earth First!ers."
Alan Cook, Freshwater,Age 42, resident since 1985, Doctor of Chiropractor
and medical researcher

"Since Maxxam took over control of PL, we have witnessed a blatant
disregard for all environmental and ecological concerns. PL has had an
opportunity to do the right thing for many years and still they persist in
doing wrong. Palco has no regard for watershed management concerns when
conducting their immoral and irresponsible logging practices."
Tom O'Connor-Kneeland, age 56, resident since '79, degrees in forestry and
wildlife mangement

"I can understand why people are upset. When Hurwitz told the PL employees
"He who has the gold rules...". he ticked a lot of people off. When you
threaten somebody's pension, there's a lot of hard feelings."
Wiley Lacy-Fortuna-Age 68,  resident since 1941, worked at PL for 42 years.

"I worked in the trucking industry. I hauled fish for years, since 1960. I
can remember when salmon choked the streams, but there's no more salmon.
The logging has done away with the salmon. Some people didn't even realize
we had a salmon fleet, but we did. A BIG salmon fleet."
Jim Trueblood- Stafford,Age 63, Stafford resident since 1972, retired truck

"Hurwitz is in it for the short term. Before Maxxam took over, we generally
logged an average of 50% of the volume of the young growth redwood stands
during thinning operations. You could hardly tell it had been logged. Now I
see these bare, clearcut hillsides. PL doesn't have the same good name in
Humboldt it did before the takeover."
Bill Hunsaker- Fortuna-Age 79, resident since 1921. Worked 47 years at PL,
retired as V.P. of Administration in 1984.

"PL says unstable ground contributed to the landslide. So, if it's
unstable, what are they doing up there stripping the trees? We're tired of
hearing Hurwitz cry about his property rights. What about us, the people
who live here, and our rights?"
Marion Del Biaggio,Stafford,Age 70, resident since 1956, worked for 14
years at PL.

"My son hid under the bed when the mudslide hit. You know, we had no
warning. We heard trees snapping, ten minutes later it was there at the
house, waves coming down, mud and trees. My son's hiding, he's crying. What
do you get, I had no clue. You grab your kids and you go." Leah
Church-formerly of Stafford

"Taxpayers should not be made to bail out Maxxam for its gamble in
taking over Pacific Lumber's old growth." Daniel M. Ihara, Ph.D., economist

>Do you have any stats to back you premise that there are more clear-cuts
>(and of bigger size) then there was in the 80's? If not, how can you
>come to the conclusion that corporations have overstayed their welcome?
>And, what do you propose to take the place of the best method of raising
>capital that the world has ever known? Or, do you propose to rid society
>of the evils of capitalism?
>Ted Kegebein
>Spitting in the wind?

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