Hurwitz, Pacific Lumber is cutting Headwaters

Kirk Johnson newkirk at
Wed Mar 25 21:58:02 EST 1998

lrlake at (LRLake) wrote:

> >I won't enter into the culture wars here as I suspect everyone involved has
> >firmly closed their minds.
> >
> >But as far as the title here is concerned--  I'm a working stiff in a small
> >company, not part of the corporate structure some seem so paranoid about. And
> >as far as I'm concerned if Pacific lumber owns and has good title to the
> >Headwaters timberland they are entitled to cut every stick of timber there. 
> >The rights of private property are a fundamental defense from Joe and his 
> >like, who would sanitize the world according to their lights.

> I think you missed the point.  I assume, from your post, that you might be a
> subcontractor for PL.  I agree with your post, as far as it goes. However, the
> corporate "game" which allowed the change of ownership was partially supported
> by public funds (S&L bialout) and has considerably increased the cut on what
> was a timber rich enterprise which might have continued forever.
> Clearly anyone who works for PL and Scotia and the enterprise itself, cannot
> anticipate a long future.  At least not the kind and magnitude of continued
> economic benefit  which was possible prior to the takeover.
> Do corporations have some public responsibility to remain in business.  Your
> absolute private property rights argument is easier for me to embrace for
> small ownerships where community viability and stability are less affected.

Here is a forwarded message (recent stuff on Pacific Lumber & Headwaters):

   W E E K L Y    H E A D W A T E R S    F O R E S T    U P D A T E
      Update 03-25-98   (See the adjoining Action Alert)


Bucking the trend of newspapers across the state to editorialize first and
ask questions later, the San Jose Mercury News became the first newspaper
in the state to editorially raise significant questions about recently
announced "agreement in principle" between state and federal agencies and
Pacific Lumber.
      The agreement provides a framework to guide the drafting of a Habitat
Conservation Plan that will determine endangered species protections across
Pacific Lumber's entire 200,000 acres of timberland.
      Other papers that have editorialized on the agreement, including the
San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, and Sacramento Bee, have
generally taken the administration's word that the plan would be
scientifically sound.
      In the editorial, the Mercury News asks, "Is this worth $380
million?" In answering its own question, the paper concludes that the deal
is worth the money only if it guarantees "no cutting in the lesser groves,
murrelets or not, and the wide stream buffers."
      As currently proposed, the agreement fails to meet the Mercury News
standard, or, obviously that of the environmental community. Hopefully, in
the coming weeks other papers will follow the Merc's lead and look more
closely for the devil in the details of the Headwaters HCP.



In response to complaints from residents in southern Humboldt County, the
North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board gave Pacific Lumber until
April 15 to submit a report on how it will provide landowners with
alternate water supplies. The company has also been directed to conduct a
sediment source survey and watershed analysis of the north fork of the Elk
River by June 1.
      Residents complained that the Elk River's 22-square-mile watershed
has been fouled by heavy logging in the past decade. "There is so much
sediment in the river that we can't drink the water, nor use it to irrigate
our apple orchards," said Kristi Wrigley, whose family has owned riverfront
property adjacent to Pacific Lumbers's southern Humboldt County timberlands
for nearly a century.



Humboldt County Judge Harold Neville set a trial date of March 25 for
Pacific Lumber's alleged violations to the Forest Practices Act.
      Many of you may remember that PL was convicted of criminal Forest
Practice Rules violations and placed on probation in July of 1997. Since
July, Pacific Lumber is charged with repeatedly violating their probation
and continuing to criminally break the law.
      At a pre-trial hearing February 18, Humboldt County Judge Marilyn
Miles made a veiled reference to what usually happens to criminals who
violate probation, but in the end granted Pacific Lumber more time to work
out a deal with the District Attorney. Apparently, such a deal was not
forthcoming, and on March 4 Judge Harold Neville set the whole matter for a
March 25 bench trial.



In an attempt to chill environmental opposition to its destructive logging
practices, Maxxam has asked a federal judge to allow it to recover almost
$700,000 in attorneys' fees and costs from the Environmental Protection
Information Center (EPIC) arising from the company's successful defense of
"salvage" logging practices that threatened endangered species. The
company's request took place on February 26 before U.S. District Court
Judge Louis Bechtle.
      Maxxam's "fee motion" stems from EPIC's attempt to prevent Pacific
Lumber from clearcutting northern spotted owl habitat and "salvage logging"
the ancient groves of Headwaters Forest under a Forest Practice Rules
exemption. Although the salvage operations were curtailed considerably
under threat of the lawsuit, EPIC ultimately lost the case.
      Pacific Lumber's motion, although not technically a "SLAPP" suit (or
Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation), is a blatant attempt to
silence EPIC and put an end to its groundbreaking legal work.
      To that end, Pacific Lumber has made the absurd claim that they have
significantly advanced interpretation of the Endangered Species Act by
winning the case. If the court rules in the company's favor, a chilling
message will be sent to all citizens and organizations who seek to enforce
federal laws through litigation.
      As anyone who has followed the Headwaters issue knows, litigation is
often the only way to convince otherwise reluctant agencies to uphold their
responsibilities. In the absence of such past successful litigation,
Headwaters itself might well have fallen by now.
      After hearing arguments from both sides regarding the motion, Judge
Bechtle took the matter under submission. A ruling is expected soon.



As always, the Weekly Updates are archived chronologically on the website
at <>, in case you'd like to refer
back to previous news or you missed previous Updates.

More information about the Ag-forst mailing list