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Mattole Defense
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Maxxam out of the Mattole
For Immediate Release,  September 8, 2000

CDF Approves First of Controversial Logging Plans on Rainbow Ridge:
Clearcutting of Headwaters Deal  "Sacrifice" Old Growth Could Begin

Petrolia, California. The California Department of Forestry (CDF) this morning approved the first of six controversial Maxxam/Pacific Lumber Co. (PL) timber harvest plans - 1-99-475HUM - in the ancient forests of Rainbow Ridge. PL assured CDF today they would not begin logging until Monday. Citizens are preparing to defend these forests on all fronts.

Rainbow Ridge, located in the Mattole River watershed of the Lost Coast, harbors the largest unprotected contiguous lowland old-growth Douglas Fir forest in California. This is the first of the so-called "sacrifice zones" in which PL is allowed, under the terms of the Headwaters Deal Habitat Conservation Plan, to ignore the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  This area is home to Coho salmon and steelhead trout, river otters, northern goshawks, peregrine falcons, pacific fishers, and a small rural community. It is a pristine, remote, very steep and rugged 14,000-acre mix of forest and prairie, and receives an average of 100 inches of rainfall annually, much in concentrated deluges. It is also one of the most seismically active  regions in the US.  Continuing landslides occur from 1985 clearcuts, generating enormous quantities of sediment in the Mattole's North Fork, intensifying seasonal flooding. Despite the ESA exemption, the devastation of this old-growth forest is illegal on numerous grounds.

This THP approval follows a January 18th meeting with Susan Kennedy, (Gov. Gray Davis' Deputy Chief of Staff), Maxxam DC lobbyist Tommy Boggs (who netted a $30 million commission for greasing the skids of the Headwaters Forest Deal), PL Exec. VP and General Counsel Jared Carter, and the Directors and key Deputies of the CDF and Cal. Dept. of Fish & Game. At that meeting Kennedy and Maxxam told the agencies to "bend over backwards" to approve these clearcuts and "back off" attempts to protect fish and wildlife according to the dictates of state law (See report at

Paul Mason, Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC), 707-923-2931

  The Lost Coast League, EPIC, and the Humboldt Watershed Council, filed Lost Coast League et al. v. CDF et al. this morning in the Superior Court, State of California, County of Humboldt (Case #CV000668). "We requested an emergency hearing for a Temporary Restraining Order in Humboldt County today. The fact that we can't get that hearing for a week is typical Humboldt County justice. Once again, all the damage will be done before citizens get their day in court," stated Paul Mason, Executive Director of EPIC. All legal options are currently being pursued to avoid another PL disaster in the woods.

Dave Walsh, Ancient Forest International, 707-923-3015

  A letter was sent today from the Alliance for Sustainable Jobs and the Environment (ASJE) to Susan Kennedy, Deputy Chief of Staff for Gov. Gray Davis, requesting State help in securing a one-year logging moratorium on these parcels from Maxxam until a down payment can be made. "There is widespread community support in Humboldt County to purchase these lands, get Maxxam out of the Mattole, and manage Rainbow for the long-term benefit of both the forests and our community," stated  Tracy Katelman, ASJE Environmental Co-Chair, and Registered Professional Forester in the Mattole valley.

Direct Action:
Naomi Wagner, Mattole Forest Defenders, 707-629-3546

        Residents and concerned citizens are prepared to use nonviolent direct action to halt logging if necessary. A letter was delivered to John Campbell, PL President, reminding him of California regulations that prohibit tree falling while other people are near, such as caused the tragic death of David Gypsy Chain on Sep. 17th, 1998.

Maxxam Out of the Mattole media desk at 707-441-3828  or see
Maxxam Out of the Mattole media desk is a project of the Independent Media Center/Petrolia,