>U.S. judge halts logging by Calif. timber company
>Friday, August 14, 1998 10:47 PM
>By Greg Frost
>SAN FRANCISCO, Aug 14 (Reuters) -- A federal judge on Friday handed
>environmental activists a temporary legal victory when he ordered a timber
>company to halt plans to cut trees on unstable terrain in northern
>In a six-page temporary restraining order, U.S. District Judge Thelton
>Henderson prevented Pacific Lumber from logging on three parcels of land in
>Humboldt County. A hearing on a permanent injunction was scheduled for Aug.
>Paul Mason, a spokesman for the Environmental Protection Information Center
>(EPIC), welcomed the judge's order.
>"It's a very significant move," Mason said. "It's the opening salvo in
>what's shaping up to be a very big case."
>A spokeswoman for Pacific Lumber, a unit of Houston-based MAXXAM Inc
>(Amex:MXM), was not immediately available for comment.
>The temporary injunction stemmed from a lawsuit filed earlier this week by
>environmentalists opposed to key parts of a controversial deal to save
>thousands of acres of ancient redwoods in California's Headwaters Forest.
>The U.S. and California governments reached a tentative deal in 1996 with
>MAXXAM to buy 7,500 acres of the Headwaters Forest, including a 3,000-acre
>ancient redwood grove and a smaller grove, for $380 million.
>Last month, Pacific Lumber submitted a so-called habitat conservation plan
>-- a required step in the proposed Headwaters Forest sale -- spelling out
>how it plans to manage its remaining forest lands so that the effects of
>logging on fish and wildlife are mitigated.
>Environmentalists and some local residents have challenged the conservation
>plan, saying it would lead to the deaths of endangered wildlife species and
>would cause greater soil erosion and increase the risk of destructive
>The temporary injunction issued on Friday by Judge Henderson was based on a
>provision of the Endangered Species Act which says that companies pursuing
>a federal permit, such as one that would result in the deaths of endangered
>species, cannot simultaneously take actions that preclude other, more
>The environmental activists argued that Pacific Lumber was doing just that
>-- logging on unstable and environmentally sensitive areas even though it
>is still in the process of negotiating the habitat conservation plan.
>Congress has earmarked $250 million to pay for the federal government's
>share of the Headwaters Forest deal. However, the California legislature
>has yet to sign off on the state's $130 million stake.
>The sale also hinges on state and federal agencies approving Pacific
>Lumber's conservation plan for its remaining property once the sale is
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