Logging Stayed
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Emergency Request for Logging Stay

June 17, 2003          Press Release                For Immediate Release

Contact: Vince Taylor, Ph.D. (707) 937-3001
Paul Carroll (legal) (650) 322-5652

Court Grants Stay of Logging in Jackson State Forest
Campaign Accuses CDF of “scandalous behavior” and Conflict of Interest

June 17, San Francisco. The First District Court of Appeals today issued a stay against further logging in Jackson State Forest. Located in Mendocino County, 50,000-acre Jackson Forest is by far the largest publicly owned redwood forest south of Humboldt County.

The stay of logging was issued in response to an emergency request by the Campaign to Restore Jackson State Redwood Forest and Forests Forever.

Logging began in Jackson State Forest on June 11, the day after a Mendocino County judge denied the environmentalist’s request to enjoin logging until their legal challenge to the forest’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is heard on July 7.

The Campaign’s lawyer, Paul Carroll, said, “We asked the court of appeals, first, to stay the logging and, second, pointedly to direct the Mendocino Court to reconsider its decision.”

In its order issuing the stay, the appeals court requested that parties file briefs to the court, indicating that it will consider the Campaign’s request for reconsideration. The stay will remain in effect at least until after the requested briefs are filed on July 2.

Mr. Carroll explained the basis for the appeal, “The Mendocino judge erred fundamentally. Without a valid EIR, the California Department of Forestry, which manages Jackson State Forest, is prohibited from logging there. The judge found that he was “very likely” to rule in our lawsuit that the EIR for Jackson State is invalid. Inexplicably, the judge refused to connect the dots and issue the injunction.”

The Executive Director for the Campaign to Restore Jackson State Redwood Forest, Dr. Vince Taylor, said, “We are extremely happy to finally reach a responsive court. But, this stay should not obscure what led up to the appeal. Mendocino Court’s Judge Henderson’s failure to issue an injunction was bizarre at best. But, CDF’s behavior constitutes an outright scandal. The California Department of Forestry (CDF) is acting like Pacific Lumber or some other big industrial timber firm, rather than as the agency legally charged with the responsibility for enforcing environmental protection for California's forests. The judge as good as said that he would shortly find the EIR invalid, making logging in Jackson Forest illegal. Given its position as guardian of the forests, CDF ought to have taken every precaution to avoid violating the spirit of the environmental laws. Instead, CDF rushed to log as much timber as possible before being enjoined by the court.”

Dr. Taylor said, “This case has stripped off the public-relations façade that CDF has placed over what is just a big industrial logging operation run to generate profits for state forestry programs. CDF loses no opportunity to emphasize that they run Jackson State for research and demonstration on good forestry practices. Nowhere in the policies governing the state forests is the word ‘revenue’ even mentioned. But, CDF actions are all about money.

“CDF’s court documents never mention research and demonstration. They are all about revenue. Ross Johnson, Deputy Director of CDF, declared that ‘further blockage of state forest activities and revenues will further exacerbate the problem of being able to hire fire captains…[and we will] see continued reduction or elimination of funding needed to address critical forest pest issues…’ No mention is made of harm to research or demonstration projects. Worthwhile as the activities Mr. Johnson cites are, they should not be funded by cutting the public’s trees.”

Bill Heil, Campaign board member, emphasized that CDF has a strong conflict of interest when it comes to Jackson State Forest, “On the one hand, CDF is the enforcer of our forest environmental laws. On the other hand, it manages Jackson State Forest to make money for its forestry programs. When push comes to shove, as it has in Jackson State, the environment is the loser. Jackson Forest needs an independent oversight committee that is not subject to Sacramento budget pressures.”

The timber harvest plans (THPs) being pursued in Jackson State are named Brandon Gulch and Camp 3. Together they cover 900 acres of 100-year old undisturbed second growth in the heart of the recreation area of Jackson State. The plans would cut 35,000 trees and 20 million board feet of timber. The timber mills who have contracted for the timber are Mendocino Forest Products and Willits Redwood Company.

Appeal Brief