><::><::><::><::><::><::><::>< ><::><::><::><::><::><::><::>< Forest ALERT and UPDATE from the Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters October 2, 2007 ><::><::><::><::><::><::><::>< ><::><::><::><::><::><::><::>< 1. Pacific Lumber Releases Plan for Post-Bankruptcy Management and Sale of Land (Brace yourself) 2. Oak Grove in Berkeley: Oaks on trial, Tree-sitters under injunction and trees surrounded by fence Preamble: BACH's alerts have been infrequent lately and we apologize. It has more to do with BACHsters being out of town and state than lack of issues to report. This update is full of information now that the long-awaited PL Reorganization Plan is out, and the Oak Grove is full of activity. We will announce a meeting to deliver in person and fuller updates very soon. Stay tuned. ><::><::><::><: ><::><::><::><: ><::><::><::><: PACIFIC LUMBER REORGANIZATION PLAN WOULD SELL, DEVELOP AND LOG LAND The long-awaited corporate reorganization plan that Pacific Lumber must, by law, submit to the bankruptcy court under Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings is out, after two extensions. Under bankruptcy law, the debtor (PL) gets the first whack at a proposed management plan, after which the court decides whether present management will retain control. In brief, PL proposes to sell the Marbled Murrelet Conversation Areas, some 6,600 acres of ancient redwood forest contained in 6 groves that were set aside for 50 years under provisions of the 1999 Headwaters Deal. They propose to sell an additional 22,000 acres adjacent to and surrounding those groves as high-end housing development, sell the town of Scotia, and retain ownership of approximately 181,000 acres of forestland for timber production. Our good friends at the Alliance for Sustainable Jobs and the Environment have posted the entire plan, along with a map at http://asje.org/PL_Reorganization_Plan.html While PL CEO George O'Brien calls the plan "win-win" in the business pages, there are clearly losers, and at best, the proposal assumes an assembling of buyers for the land they wish to sell at unbelievably inflated prices. ($400 million for the ancient groves) Some manipulations are fairly bald-faced, as in Maxxam's "forgiving" of a $60 million "debt" that is an engineered claim against its own subsidiary in the first place, and PL financial architects clearly hope to woo the bondholders to their side of the court with their promises of cashing out the debt burden. The bondholders are owed about $785 million (from PL's refinancing of its original purchase debt) and would receive only (approx.) 67 cents on the dollar under that plan. PL also claims as a chit in their favor the real estate expertise of its parent Maxxam. Hurwitz's Maxxam has been in the real estate business far longer than they have been in the timber business. High end development is their ball game and they play hard ball. An interesting story from Maxxam's past involves a development in the Palm Springs area proposed for bighorn sheep lambing ground. PL is fighting to keep other proposals from coming before the court. A hearing to extend that exclusivity to February is scheduled for Nov. 23. The SF Chronicle ran a story today about the PL plan and are offering a comment opportunity at http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article/comments/view?f=/c/a/2007/10/02/MN41SI0CB.DTL You can link to the full story from there as well. Please weigh in, making the points that *this is not a sustainable *reorganization*. It is proposed highway robbery with land values inflated in some cases 10 fold, and another attempt to raid private and public coffers and send hundreds of millions of dollars to the pockets of Charles Hurwitz. *Old growth forests and BUFFERS are not negotiable. Isolated old growth groves need buffers to survive and thrive as habitat. Housing developments are NOT biological buffers. *The bankruptcy court should receive alternative plans for management from creditors, Humboldt county residents, workers and other stakeholders. *No conversion, ever, of forest land to development. It has happened to an extreme degree in Sonoma, to a large degree in Mendocino, and must not happen in the redwoods in Humboldt county! NOTE: BACH will have a public activist get-together soon to present the situation in full, and also to bring updates from the oak grove tree-sit. Please watch for the notice! ><::><::><::><::><::><::><::>< ><::><::><::><::><::><::><::>< OAKS GET THEIR DAY--AND NOW WEEKS--IN COURT In a court hearing yesterday, Oct. 3, Alameda County Judge Richard Keller responded to an injunction request by UC Berkeley in the "SLAPP" suit they filed against tree-sitters in the oak grove in Berkeley by issuing the preliminary injunction. SLAPP suits are civil suits designed to quash protest and free speech, and large corporations are famous for filing them against protesters. The wrinkle is that when issued, it only applied to the one sitter whose name they had. The University intends to serve other tree-sitters, but it is not clear how or when. More people at the grove are needed under these conditions. This is a separate case than the lawsuits being heard in the on-going trial in Alameda County Superior Court in Hayward. That case, heard by Judge Barbara Miller, involves three lawsuits filed last year after the tree-sits went up in December, challenging UC Berkeley on its attention to issues like earthquake safety and archaeological sites that it is required by law to address adequately in any proposed development. That long-awaited trial commenced on Sept. 19, and is expected to conclude on Oct. 11, when closing arguments will be heard. The judge will then have up to 90 days to rule. A good decision could STOP UC plans to level the grove. Meanwhile, the tree-sits continue, entering their 11th month, along with the ground support activities. The grove is now surrounded by an 8 ft. chain link fence the University erected in early Sept. On Sept. 14, following a *free speech / free trees* rally with leaders of the 1964 Free Speech movement, more than 2 dozen students in free speech / free trees yellow t-shirts scaled the metal fence and brought food and water to the tree-sitters. 21 students were arrested. Your support is needed! Come to the oak grove whenever you can. Donations of funds for supplies and donations of food are always needed. It boosts spirits and keeps people safe if more people are there. You can call the tree-sit cell phone at 510-938-2109 LINKS to recent stories: Trees on trial: http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/article.cfm?issue=09-21-07&storyID=28046 http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/article.cfm?issue=09-25-07&storyID=28070 Fence erected, students jump fence: http://freespeechfreetrees.org/Home.html injunction against tree-sitters: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2007/02/02/18355749.php and even though we don't subscribe much to corporate media, Channel 2 (who has done some of the better coverage) has links and a slide show of the tree-sitters up on its' website: http://www.ktvu.com/news/14247554/detail.html -- ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters (BACH) 2530 San Pablo Ave. Berkeley, CA 94702 phone: 510 548 3113 email: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.HeadwatersPreserve.org
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