New Tree-Sit and Forest Occupation in the Mattole Shuts SPI Down

Humboldt County Forest Defenders have been occupying a Sierra Pacific Industries’ (SPI) logging plan in the Mattole River watershed, effectively shutting down operations there. A tree-sitter has been perched 100 ft. up, joined in the last couple days by more activists who turned back heavy equipment and trucks on site to haul the giant logs out. The area is deep in the forest, and the activists are calling attention to corporate logging of large, fire resistant trees, damage to water quality and other destructive environmental impacts.

For more than six years, protestors have been setting up blockades on the main access road into this area. Now, SPI has gained access with the help of the neighboring landowner Humboldt Redwood Co.’s (HRC) private security, and has begun the process of clear cutting a timber harvest unit which contains large, old trees that pre-date the state of California.  The logging plan is in the Rainbow Ridge area, near Taylor Peak, in the North Fork Mattole watershed.

Over the past decade and longer, local activists have focused on challenging Humboldt Redwood Co.’s logging plans within the Mattole watershed. However, SPI also owns hundreds of acres in Humboldt County, though most of their holdings are in the Sierra. With nearly 2 million acres of forestland in California and Washington, SPI is the most prolific clearcutter in California, and owns vast acreage in the Sierras besides their holdings in Humboldt, making them the largest timber company in the U.S., and the third largest landowner in the country. See Mattole Forest Defenders’ Facebook page and stories on IndyBay.

Richardson Grove Redwoods Back in Court

The litigation against Caltrans on their supposed “improvement project,” widening Highway 101 in Richardson Grove State Park has been pursued both in California State Court and in a companion suit in United States Federal Court over the past eight years, and has been opposed by local activists and redwood defenders since the concept plan was first proposed in 1994. Ground has never been broken on this wrong-headed destructive highway project, but Caltrans keeps coming back to push it, despite many legal and public opinion defeats. It is in court again this month in the Bay Area: November 28, at U.S. District Court in the Federal Building in San Francisco.

Federal Court Judge William Alsup issued the temporary injunction that  stopped the project, and now we are back in court before Judge Alsup.  At this upcoming hearing both sides will present Motions for Summary Judgement.  What this means is that each side will argue that its case should prevail as a matter of fact and law.
Observers are welcome.  The hearing is on Wednesday, Nov. 28 in U.S. District Court in San Francisco at 8 AM.  You can email BACH to make sure it is still on just before then. I am planning to make the trip to court. I’d love to have tree-hugger company.

Red Blue AIM-west Benefit

There will be a blues music benefit for AIM-west, in solidarity with the 50th anniversary of American Indian Movement at the Omni Commons, 4799 Shattuck Ave. in Oakland: Friday, Nov. 30 at 7 pm. To see the line-up and more info, go to AIM-west.

And don’t forget the “Black Friday” annual march and protest at the Emeryville Shellmound (now covered with high-end retail stores) on Friday, Nov. 23, 12 noon-2 pm at Shellmound and Ohlone Way. See the event page on FB at 19th annual Emeryville Shellmound Prayer Gathering.

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