Please excuse double postings; this is an excellent article. Thanks, K.
PS...NOTE: Work is not yet done when it comes to AB717 and AB 748. They
did pass the Appropriations Committee, but the Assembly still needs to vote
on them Thursday, 06-03-99. Then, all the Assembly Bills need to be acted
on by Friday, 06-04-99 in order to be considered by the Senate for the next
half of this year.
Printed Wednesday, 05-26-99
Study says California's logging rules are weak

The Associated Press

SACRAMENTO- California's logging rules are inadequate, allowing widespread
cutting that causes mudslides, hurts water supplies and endangers fish and
wildlife, a federal scientist says.

In a study released Tuesday, U.S. Forest Service geologist Leslie Reid
accuses the California Department of Forestry of lax enforcement of the
Forest Practices Act, the principal state law governing tree harvesting.

Reid urges state officials to shift authority over logging rules from the
California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention to the cabinet-level
Resources Agency, headed by Gov. Gray Davis' top environmental adviser.

California laws have failed to fully protect Northern California streams,
wrote Reid, who played a key role in a state-federal agreement to preserve
the Headwaters Forest Preserve near Fortuna.

Some CDF staff members see their primary mission as facilitating production
of ''high-quality forest products,'' she added.

The study reflects Reid's research and was not endorsed by her agency. Her
study was released by an environmental coalition that includes California's
major water agencies' lobby. It was commissioned by Assemblyman Fred Keeley,
a Boulder Creek Democrat who proposes tightening logging laws, boosting
inspections and requiring timber companies to pay for it.

CDF spokeswoman Karen Terrill declined to comment on the study, saying
officials had not yet seen it.

Logging practices have been a thorny subject for years along the North
where landowners have complained that excessive logging causes mudslides
during heavy winter rain.

In December 1996, over-logging by Pacific Lumber Co. was blamed for a
mudslide that destroyed homes in Stafford. The company denied the

The slide prompted the creation of a local homeowners' group seeking tougher
logging rules.

''Basically, it destroyed one-third of our town. It took out all the
owners north of me, and this is not an isolated case,'' said Mike O'Neal, a
Stafford property owner whose land was hit by the mudslide.

Among supporters of Keeley's legislation is the Association of California
Water Agencies, which represents more than 400 water agencies across
California, most of whom provide drinking water.

The group is not often identified as part of an environmental coalition, but
spokeswoman Jennifer Persike-Becker said ACWA favors tough logging laws to
preserve fragile watersheds.

''More and more we've figured out that the watershed has to be protected,
instead of dumping a bunch of chemicals at the other end, which is costly
not necessarily the best treatment,'' she said.

Reid's study suggests that timber harvest plans, the documents that
seeking to log trees submit for state approval, ''do not adequately examine
the long-term impact of human activity, namely logging,'' according to the
environmental coalition.

Reid, whose research during the Headwaters Forest negotiations was credited
by environmentalists with prompting tougher logging restrictions for PL,
recommends that state forestry authorities be more open to outside research.

The financial impact of excessive logging is borne heavily by those who
depend on water for their livelihoods, such as fishermen and boating guides,
she wrote.

c1999 Times-Standard
Wednesday, May 26, 1999; A1

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