Annie Archy | 13.11.2005 19:24 | Ecology
Here's a quick report on the forest defense actions around the Pacific Northwest of North America after having completed a Cascadian bioregional tour.
Battles against logging of the lush ancient rainforests of the Pacific Northwest are still being kept alive by heroic forest defenders.
America's largest oldgrowth forest in Alaska's Tongass National Forest is under direct attack by the Bush Administration. Clinton's Roadless Rule implemented in the last days of his presidency included millions of acres of this rainforest within its protected boundaries. The Roadless Rule has since been scrapped by the Bush Administration and now the Tongass is back in the courts. The South East Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC) is hard at work using legal avenues to challenge the decision. Veteran activists like Bart Koehler are back at it again. Treesits are being planned by local activists right now should the court decisions fail.
In Cathedral Grove, a treesit stays strong after being set up almost 2 years ago by local activists Greg and Richard Boyce. Minister of Forests Barry Penner has recently indicated that he is reconsidering the parking lot there. Note the public meetings at:
Tuesday November 15, 2005 Port Alberni (Undisclosed location or time)
Tuesday November 22, 2005 Parksville Community Centre 5:30 -7 pm (open house display) 7 pm to 8:30 (presentation Q&A)
In the meantime several brave activists still defend the grove. Luckily they no longer have to contend with loud mouth egotist Ingmar Lee who has moved to Africa. Lee brought down violence onto the camp by provoking the local rednecks through hurling insults at local yahoos, while all the campers including the women had to face their wrath, paying for Ingmar Lee's macho insecurities. Lee had also been taking credit for the hard work of all the protesters who occupied the camp through the brutal winter months, firing off media reports of 'his' direct action camp as if he was still there all from the security of his home months after he left. Lee has become famous in BC for his personal grand standing and attention seeking antics, inserting himself into the protests and campaigns of others while trying to claim credit. He's also famous for insulting other activists in the social justice and environmental movement with lies and slander. Women in particular are often the victims of this male assholes' steamrolling antics. Activists are well advised to keep him out of your campaigns should he seek to insert himself.
The Bush administration is moving to drop federal endangered species
protections for the marbled murrelet, a small seabird that has stood in
the way of Northwest logging for more than a decade. Scientists estimate
the species is sliding toward extinction in Oregon, Washington and
California. However, the Bush administration concluded the declining
birds in this region do not differ enough from more numerous murrelets
in Canada and Alaska to warrant protection on their own. There are an
estimated 21,900 marbled murrelets in Oregon, Washington and California,
and 925,600 in Canada and Alaska. The move reverses an earlier pledge by
the Fish and Wildlife Service not to remove the protections until it
examines how the entire species is faring across its range. Many
biologists think the murrelet is declining in Alaska and Canada. The
murrelet was listed as threatened in Oregon, Washington and California
in 1992 as logging eroded old-growth forests where the birds nest, and
their numbers declined. Its protections, along with those for the
northern spotted owl and salmon, led to a collapse in logging of public
lands. Scientists who have studied murrelets said the fate of the birds
is closely tied to forests. Canadian researchers said the new laws in
Canada used by the Bush administration to justify its move are not
strong enough to safeguard the murrelet. "The reality is that the act is
pretty weak, and there really is not a lot of improved protection for
murrelets in Canada," said Alan Burger, an associate professor at the
University of Victoria. "I don't think the U.S. can expect Canada to
provide extra murrelets, because ours are in trouble as well."
The beautiful ponderosa pine and douglas fir forests of the Blue Mountains in Eastern Oregon are under threat again! After the last few summers of fires, timber sales are popping up all over the place in roadless areas. Reminiscent of the 1996 Salvage Rider sales, these opportunistic sales are being challenged by the Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project. A viscious smear campaign by media in Bend against BMBP founders Karen Coulter and Asanti is taking place. Please see how you can help them by going to: http://portland.indymedia.org/en/static/easterncascadia.shtml
The Biscuit Sale, the largest in US history, is still underway in south western Oregon. Resistance by local Earth First! activists and Greenpeace in numerous blockades, treesits, and actions has continued for over a year. Unfortunately, the confidence boost given to the USFS and nearby proposed BLM sales by the Bush administration is a tough battle. More blockades are underway. This is THE action site in the Pacific NW. Please join the dedicated resistance. Go to http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2005/03/314277.shtml
Santa Rosa, CA -- In a brazen move, Maxxam/Pacific Lumber Co. (Maxxam/PL) began logging in the contested "Bonanza" timber harvest plan (THP # 1-05-097 HUM) on Tuesday, September 27 without the required authorization from the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (Water Board). After logging an unknown amount of the 250-acre plan, the illegal logging was stopped by the company.
Accordingly, on Thursday, September 29, Maxxam/PL was served a Notice of Violation by the Water Board for logging without a required permit.
According to the Notice of Violation, Maxxam/PL began logging the Bonanza plan without first having obtained enrollment under rules known as the General Waste Discharge Requirements. The rules are required of Maxxam/PL to protect water quality against the harmful cumulative effects that the company's logging wreaks on watersheds.
The Bonanza harvest plan contains the largest unprotected, contiguous, occupied marbled murrelet stand left on Maxxam/PL's land. Last year, a comprehensive Status Review for the murrelet, prepared by a blue-ribbon panel of top murrelet researchers, warned that if current trends continue, the endangered species faces a very high probability of extinction in California within a very short time. Despite the clear implication that Maxxam/PL's Habitat Conservation Plan is inadequate to ensure survival or recovery of the murrelet, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has inexplicably released the Bonanza murrelet stands for harvest.
It remains unknown to what extent the Water Board's Notice of Violation will prevent further harvesting in the Bonanza plan. The company is now required to submit a written report to the Water Board on Friday, September 30, describing the illegal activities and the reason the activities took place in the absence of authorization by the Water Board.
"Maxxam's liquidation plan for Humboldt County's old growth forests has yet again run afoul of the law," said Sam Johnston, Private Lands Campaigner for EPIC. "The fate of California's marbled murrelets and the old growth forests they depend on - not to mention the fate of the human communities that depend on the health of these watersheds - should not be determined by a rogue Houston outfit - Maxxam Corp.- whose subsidiary, Scotia Pacific, is flouting the law and draining the resources of Humboldt County just to pay interest on its massive corporate debt," added Johnston.
Ongoing uncertainty about a prospective corporate reorganization was stoked on September 27 when Maxxam/PL's timber-holding subsidiary, Scotia Pacific LLC, called off negotiations with its noteholders. Responding in a press release, the noteholders stated their intention of ultimately spinning off Scotia Pacific into a company separate and independent from its current parent, Pacific Lumber. Pacific Lumber is a subsidiary of Maxxam Corp., which is based in Houston, Tx.