Earth First! Says Loggers Targeted Protesters
Blame Laid in Logging Fatality

"They felled a tree and apparently heard some yelling, and then the feller
was cutting the tree into segments when the body was found under a limb."
--Pacific Lumber President John Campbell

The Associated Press

FORTUNA, Calif., Sept. 18 -A statement from the environmental group Earth
First! said the tree that struck and killed one of its members was
deliberately felled in the direction of protesters by loggers working on a
grove of old-growth redwoods.

The Pacific Lumber Co. said the death, the first in a decade of mostly
peaceful protests against logging in the area, was accidental.

Humboldt County sheriff's deputies said the victim, 24-year-old David
Chain, was with a group of protesters who were standing among redwoods
marked for logging and trying to dissuade tree fellers when the incident
happened about noon Thursday.

Earth First! planned a vigil and blockade early today near the mill town of

Company Denies Responsibility

Company officials said Chain's death appeared to be an accident.

Pacific Lumber President John Campbell said the logging crew did not see
anybody in the area and had no idea Chain was standing nearby.

"They felled a tree and apparently heard some yelling, and then the feller
was cutting the tree into segments when the body was found under a limb,"
Campbell said.

He added that sheriff's investigators said Chain's death was "an
unfortunate accident," and that the company would conduct its own
investigation of the incident.

Earth First! blamed the fellers.

"Loggers were aware that activists were in the woods and deliberately
felled trees in their direction," the group said in a statement early
today. "Loggers were felling trees perpendicular to the hill rather than
downhill in an apparent attempt to target activists."

Angry Confrontation on Tape

Earth First! says videotape taken at the scene captured an angry
confrontation with loggers at some point before the tree came crashing
down. Six other activists were standing six feet away when Chain was killed.

Activists had staged a 12-day protest against the logging of an ancient
redwood stand along Grizzly Creek, in a ravine near the mill town of
Fortuna, about 300 miles north of San Francisco.

Eight of the group's activists had been arrested Wednesday on trespassing
charges. Thursday was the first day the group engaged in the more
aggressive tactic they call "cat and mouse," putting their bodies in harm's

The protesters say the logging, on land adjacent to a "cathedral" of
centuries-old redwoods purchased under the $495 million Headwaters
Agreement, is destroying the protected habitat of the marbled murrelet, an
endangered sea bird that nests in the tops of the majestic trees.

The state-federal agreement would turn about 7,500 acres of Pacific Lumber
forest, including 3,000 acres of old-growth redwoods, into a public
preserve. Environmentalists have protested the accord, saying it should
include protections for the rest of the 60,000-acre Headwaters Forest

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