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Why CDF Opposes SB 1648

Submitted to Santa Rosa Press Democrat, September 14, 2004

Dear Editor,

CDF wants the governor to veto SB 1648, Chesbro's bill to reform management of state forests. [PD, Benefield, 9/4/2004.] Why? Because the bill provides an independent advisory committee for Jackson State Forest. The record, affirmed by two separate courts, shows that such oversight is long overdue.

CDF's mismanagement has cost the state about $50 million in lost revenues and cost timber workers a thousand person-years of lost work. Benefield's article errs in saying that logging has been halted for two years. No timber harvest plan approved after 1999 has been carried out in Jackson Forest.

Logging was first halted because CDF failed to update its legally required management plan for 9 years after its expiration date. The logging halt was extended in 2003 by the same judge, with obvious great reluctance, because, "CDF virtually ignored the relatively clear guidelines and conducted a deficient environmental review…" The case for oversight could not be more compelling.

By removing legal obstacles to harvests beginning in 2005, Chesbro's bill would put Jackson Forest back to work immediately. A veto of the bill will continue the litigation, controversy, and uncertainty that nearly everyone except the department of forestry would like to put to rest.

Vince Taylor, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Jackson Forest Action Coalition