Submitted to Santa Rosa Press Democrat, September 14, 2004
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.
Jackson Forest Action Coalition