>Date: Fri, 29 May 1998 11:18:00 -0700 (PDT)
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>Subject: Bad Sac Bee Editorial
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>Sacramento Bee Editorial
>May 29, 1998
>A historic effort to buy Pacific Lumber Co.'s Headwaters forest and to
>devise a 50-year plan of environmentally sustainable logging for 200,000
>adjacent acres now faces the buzz saw of Capitol politics. Because of the
>concerns of a few lawmakers, most notably Sen. Byron Sher, the state's
>pledge to provide $130 million that would go to the lumber company (as well
>as $250 million in federal funds) in exchange for Headwaters, the largest
>grove of ancient redwoods in private hands anywhere in the world, is now at
>risk. The Legislature is playing politics, and dangerously so, in a complex
>field of wildlife biology.
>The fuss is primarily about fish, namely coho salmon, a threatened species
>along the North Coast. Part of the salmon's plight stems from decades of
>lax state regulations that have allowed too much logging too close to
>streams. For the salmon, what is most important isn't the fate of the
>Headwaters, but the integrity of a habitat and logging plan for adjacent
>State and federal government biologists believe they have devised such a
>plan. It goes far beyond state regulations by banning any logging within 30
>feet of streams and placing strict limits on logging between 30 feet and
>170 feet. That should maintain the integrity of slopes and leave plenty of
>trees standing to provide the creeks with salmon-sustaining shade. Some
>environmental groups insist on no logging up to 170 feet. Yet government
>biologists contend that such logging restrictions are not necessary and
>thus can't be forced onto the lumber company in the name of species
>The political tunnel-vision over logging also ignores other aspects of the
>habitat plan that dramatically reduce sediment runoff into streams. Pacific
>Lumber has agreed to storm-proof 50 miles of its dirt logging roads every
>year. While a logging site is a temporary producer of stream sediment,
>poorly maintained logging roads (and Pacific Lumber has plenty) are
>permanent threats to fish.
>Normally, political bodies don't get to noodle with the specifics of
>habitat restoration plans. Under the federal and state endangered species
>acts, private landowners are to work with government agencies, not
>legislators, to devise such preservation plans so that land activities can
>proceed without harming the species. The Legislature, which has a unique
>role in providing the money to buy the Headwaters, should not use this
>leverage by setting a dangerous precedent of second-guessing wildlife
>What lawmakers should do, however, is make sure that Pacific Lumber lives
>up to its end of the deal. The government and Pacific Lumber are now
>drafting the specific details of the 50-year logging strategy. Any
>deviation sought by Pacific Lumber on what it had agreed to in principle is
>a legitimate cause of concern. Given the company's hard-ball lobbying
>tactics and track record of repeated forestry rule violations, there is
>plenty of reason to be vigilant. Now is not the time for any party to try
>monkey business. There are simply too many ways for this worthy effort to
>fall apart.
>The Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC)
>P.O. Box 397
>Garberville, CA 95542
>(707) 923-2931
>Fax 923-4210
>Contact us at epic@igc.org to join our listserver
David M. Walsh
P.O. Box 903
Redway, CA 95560
Office and Fax(707) 923-3015
Home (707) 986-1644

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