><::><::><::><::><::><::><::>< FOREST UPDATES & EVENTS from the Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters April 4, 2008 ><::><::><::><::><::><::><::>< 1. Pacific Lumber bankruptcy case heating up: changes on near horizon 2. Bohemian Grove redwoods threatened again: public meeting 3. Oaks tree-sitters persevere: 500th day celebration ****Everyone is getting into the Act: Lots of hands grabbing at California's redwood forests: Some with good solutions, some not...**** In the latest chapter of the end game of Charles Hurwitz's hold on Humboldt County's redwood forests, the playing field has gotten crowded. In our last update on March 6, we explained who the contenders submitting reorganization proposals to the bankruptcy court in Texas were, and there are now more contenders and more opinions. In addition to that update, we produced a mini-newsletter not yet on our website that we can send you on email, and there were opinion pieces in April 3 SF Chronicle.) The proposals submitted by *the Noteholders calling for an auction of the land and assets *creditor Marathon Asset Mngmnt, teaming up with Mendocino Redwood Co. to manage the company *Pacific Lumber and its subsidiary Scotia Pacific's 3 proposals, 2 keeping the Maxxam hand on the steering wheel were submitted by a March 25 deadline, when voting by the large collection of creditors began. Creditors vote thumbs up or down on each of the proposals, at which time it goes back to the court in Texas, so unlike other kinds of voting, the "winner" is not immediately determined, and the court is still largely in charge. (Kind of like some of our presidential elections, but that is another story...). All the votes are now in, with the Marathon/MRC proposal being in a favored position in terms of level of support, but like super delegates, the large creditors' votes hold more sway, and the Noteholders are not supporting the M/M proposal. Interestingly, former California Governor Pete Wilson, no friend of the forest during his tenure, has teamed up with the Noteholders as a potential head of a reorganized Scotia Pacific should their proposal win out. The whole ball of wax goes back to Texas for decisive hearings beginning next week on April 8. Our view here at BACH is colored by a recognition that this is an excruciatingly difficult landscape to predict a good outcome. A good outcome, in our view, would be adoption of a proposal, not formerly in the running, proffered the beginning of the year by a coalition known as the Community Forestry Team, laying out a plan for sustainable forestry, insurance in perpetuity against conversion of forest lands into development, and resource decisions brought to the local--community and county--level. That coalition, still hard at work promoting their principles, brought together local watershed and sustainable forestry activists, the Nature Conservancy, Save the Redwoods League, and investment partners Atlas Investment, Redwood Forest Foundation and Bank of America. Unfortunately, at present, the Community Forestry Team does not have legal standing before the court, but they are still part of the conversation. The excruciatingly difficult part was by Maxxam design in that the company is so asset-depleted and debt-burdened, that the sustainable forestry argument is a very tough one to make in view of the creditors lining up to collect the money they are owed. But while we see the Noteholders auction proposal as extremely risky, the Marathon/Mendocino Redwood (MR) proposal leaves much to be desired. In discussions with residents and activists in Mendocino county who have been at odds with the company since they came in on Louisiana-Pacific's heels a decade ago, we see that while MR has a slick PR machine, being that they are part of the Fisher family GAP store empire, what is happening on the ground in Mendocino County is not what we want to see in Humboldt, though it is arguably better than Pacific Lumber's two decades of destruction. Mendocino Redwood refuses to rule out eventual real estate development, they have dumped herbicides on clearcuts masquerading as "variable retention" cuts, and have devastated endangered Coho habitat. We put together an article about MR for EcoNews, which we will post when it is published (next week) or can send you the document, if you request. It is titled "New Boss -- Too Much Like the Old Boss?" Next week's hearings may be decisive. Stay tuned. *******Bohemian Grove Logging Proposed********* You've probably heard of the Bohemian Grove. A place of much controversy because the redwood forest Shangri-la is host every year to its members, comprised principally of the ruling elite. The likes of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and heads of some of the largest most rapacious corporations-all male and nearly all white-cavort and discuss world domination for a couple weeks every summer at the 2,700-acre grove on the banks of the Russian River in Sonoma County. But this time, the controversy is not the agenda of the billionaire boys club, but their logging agenda for the property. In 2006, the Bohemian Club submitted a logging plan for approval to the California Dept. of Forestry (CDF) to double the rate of logging in the grove to extract more than one million board feet per year. Unlike most logging plans, there is not a pressing need for profits, but the "fire safety" argument is being used to justify this high level of disturbance in a rare and fairly undisturbed refuge of redwood forestland that serves as habitat for many species, some of them endangered and threatened. The impact on nearby residents would also be extreme, affecting potentially unstable hillsides, drinking water, and will actually increase the fire danger. Moreover, the Bohemian Club tried to use a loophole in CDF regulations that allows for a long term logging plan with less scrutiny if the area is less than 2,500 acres. The property is 2,700 acres, and their plan didn't fly, so they are back with a re-worked plan, reducing the acreage by "giving" 160 acres as a conservation easement to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation of Montana (more good ol boys). There is a public working session of state and federal agencies considering this issue next Thursday, April 10, at 10 am. Location is the offices of the Calif. Dept of Forestry, 13 Ridgeway Ave., Santa Rosa. (Call to confirm 707-576-2959) ********Save the Oaks!********* The trial against UC Berkeley's plans to cut the Memorial Oak Grove to construct an Gymnasium and athletic office building has seen its final day in court. Judge Barbara Miller now has aproximately 80 days to issue a decision in the trial, although she indicated in court that she would decide "much sooner", which seems to mean that we could see a decision sometime in April or perhaps May. UC Berkeley has implied through their PR spokesman that once the judge issues a decision the University will make some kind of new move in relation to the Tree-Sitting protesters in the grove. The protesters continue to hold their ground in the trees despite being surrounded by two barbed wire fences and UCPDs practice of trying to prevent food and water from being delivered to the sitters. Meanwhile, the tree-sitters persevere! The tree-sit is quickly approaching its 500th day and is by far the longest running urban tree-sit protest in history. April 13 will be a day to celebrate that, as a festive Five Hundy Sunday event takes place at the Grove: on Piedmont Avenue near Bancroft and near the I-House. Please come by on any Sunday to help the resupply effort -- at 2 pm join the Grandmothers for the Oaks, every Sunday. Please stay tuned - The month of April is likely to be a big month to Save the Oaks. -- 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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