Mattole Defense
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CDF to Approve 00-218
Second of Seven Controversial Maxxam Timber Harvest Plans
on Rainbow Ridge in the Mattole
 

On Friday morning, September 15, 2000, the California Department of Forestry (CDF) is set to approve the second of seven controversial logging plans in the ancient Douglas fir forests of Rainbow Ridge in the Mattole watershed of Humboldt County. This plan - 1-00-218HUM - allows Maxxam/Pacific Lumber (PL) to remove logs from the Sulphur Creek drainage cut illegally in 1998.

Back when the Headwaters Deal was in the throes of negotiation, the government and Maxxam came to a Pre-Permit Application Agreement in Principle (PPAAP) in which they established a mechanism for federal agencies, like National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and US Fish and Wildlife Service, to participate in the review of timber harvest plans along with CDF and other state agencies. This was a new departure for the state; to share in the review of a THP. The Sulphur Creek Mattole plans were among the first to go through the process. However, under direction from the Governor, CDF hastily approved THPs 1-96-413 and 1-97-307 without addressing NMFS or Cal. Dept. of Fish & Game (DFG) concerns.

When logging began in 1998 on timber harvest plans (THPs) 1-96-413HUM and 1-97-307HUM, two lawsuits were filed while citizens took to the woods to prevent the fallers from cutting the trees, and others blocked Maxxam's gates. Over twenty were arrested in the campaign which ended when EPIC and the Sierra Club obtained a federal court injunction on the logging. Despite these actions, some thirty acres of ancient Douglas-fir forest was leveled and lay on the forest floor when the court stepped in.

Maxxam/Pacific Lumber requested permission to remove the timber, but the federal court would not allow it.

In January 1999, Mattole resident Michael Evenson argued the two cases in Humboldt County Superior Court and prevailed. The judge ruled that CDF had abused its discretion in approving the plans without a credible assessment of the likely environmental consequences of the proposed harvest. It was a triumph for the community and the wildlife agencies which had concerns over landslides generating from the proposed harvests. Maxxam/Pacific Lumber once again requested permission to remove the downed logs and the Humboldt County judge also refused.

Plaintiff Evenson offered to allow the timber to be removed under two conditions:

all profits from the timber would not accrue to PL but would be used to complete restoration work in the watershed, employing PL workers and logging subcontractors, and the restoration prescriptions would be written by local expert Richard Gienger with the approval of the NMFS and DFG. Maxxam/Pacific Lumber refused.

Despite the intentions of the court, early this year, PL filed THP 1-00-218 which called for the skidding and yarding of the same downed logs. The public has pointed out to CDF that there had never been a legal cumulative impacts assessment on taking the trees down, but CDF disregarded their concerns. CDF has so far ruled that there was no old-growth forest to harvest, therefore no environmental analysis was necessary, and since there are only dead trees lying on the ground that "need" to be removed they are planning to approve this controversial plan. This is yet another example of how Maxxam continually flaunts the laws.

Please contact CDF Director Andrea Tuttle immediately and tell her that it is not OK for Maxxam to blatantly abuse the regulatory process and profit from it's continued illegal activities. Insist that CDF deny THP 00-218 and all seven Maxxam plans in the Rainbow Ridge area.

Andrea Tuttle, andrea_tuttle@fire.ca.gov, 916-653-7772

For more information on the campaign or to help, see www.mattoledefense.org or call the Mattole Hotline at 707-441-3828.