Friday, August 11, 2006

Operating Legally, Weather and 'Operational Inefficiency' Puts a Crimp in PL's Style

According to Maxxam in an Aug. 11th press realease their subsidiary, Pacific Lumber (aka Palco, or, PL), suffered a $13.1 million decrease in net sales.

First they say the decrease in sales "was due to a decline in lumber shipments as a result of a lower log supply" and "an increase in the volume of lumber" put into PL's "redwood lumber drying program during the second quarter of 2006, as compared to the same period in 2005."

Maybe someone else can explain how an increase in the amount of lumber in the "drying program" contributes to a decrease in sales.

Then Maxxam goes on to explain that "The lower log supply from ScoPac was due to adverse weather conditions in early 2006 and harvest restrictions."

Then the kicker...

Buried in the document is the statement that PL's operating losses in the first half of 2006 are partly the result of "operational inefficiencies related to Palco's new sawmill".

Thats right, the new "Hi-Tech" sawmill that PL claimed had "taken redwood lumber production to new heights".

The one that needs less human operators and required a new runoff pond that leaches toxic waste into the river just upstream of Rio Dell's municipal water supply. Which in turn required a cover-up which required harrasment and intimidation of a potential whistle blower that led to a harrasment lawsuit filed against now former PL ceo Robert "Hatchet Man" Manne.

Funny, I've never saw anything about "operational inefficiencies" in any of the Hatchet Man or New Guy's ramblings.

Did anyone else hear about that?

Maybe PL's friends at the Eureka Reporter can get them to elaborate on this.

Later on in the press release Maxxam hits us with a doomsday prediction-

"As previously announced, ScoPac ( PL's land management branch) expects to incur substantial interest shortfalls over at least the next several years.

There can be no assurance that ScoPac will be able to generate sufficient additional liquidity to fund the expected future cash shortfalls. To the extent that ScoPac is unable to generate sufficient liquidity from property sales or other sources, the Company expects that ScoPac will be forced to take extraordinary actions, which may include: laying off employees, shutting down various operations, and seeking protection by filing under the Bankruptcy Code."

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Kalmiopsis Logging Blockade Update

This is the blockade bravely occupied by Laurel Sutherland, a resident of the Illinois Valley defending his home turf. It stopped operations while it lasted and brought much needed attention to the destructive "salvage" logging of the South Kalmiopsis Roadless area.
[click here for my previous post on the subject]

The Josephine County Sherrifs and Forest Service law enforcement sent an arborist out on the log cantilever to lower him down.

There has been some interesting media coverage following the blockade, a couple examples-

Protestors Accused of Illegal Logging
-Mail Tribune Aug. 9th

Protestors Defend Controversial Tactics
-Mail Tribune Aug. 10th

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Windmill Logging Plan Approved

Sierra Pacific Industries Windmill logging plan was approved yesterday. Logging could begin any time. The plan includes clearcutting Old Growth Douglas Fir near the coast, several miles north of Petrolia. I will recap on details of the logging plan today or tomorrow. You can use the blog search engine to find past postings on this subject. More info. in the side column.

The Plan
The 538 acre-logging plan was submitted to the California Dept. of Forestry (CDF) on December 23rd, 2003. A controversial plan from the beginning, it proposed extensive clearcutting and herbicide spraying on the most of the remaining Old Growth Douglas Fir forest in the Davis creek watershed.

Davis Creek
This area is home to rare creatures like Spotted Owls, Mountain Beavers and Sonoma Tree Voles. The Mountain Beavers are not actually beavers but a rare type of ancient rodent, a sort of "living fossil" like the coecelanth fish. The company was not required to identify what subspecies they are even though this was the first confirmed report of the creatures in the lost coast region. Clearcutting of the Mountain Beaver sites is likely to kill them. If they aren't crushed in the process they can be killed by the higher temperatures found after the shade from trees is gone.

The area is also very seismically active and sattelite photos shows multiple landslides originating in clearcuts. There are frequently small earthquakes in this area as it is near the junction of three tectonic plates.

136 Acres Off Limits to Protect Spotted Owls
On April 27, 2006 the Fish and Wildlife Service determined that approximately 136 acres had to be removed from the logging plan, otherwise the logging would result in “take” (illegal harm or killing) of the threatened Northern Spotted Owl. 136 acres makes up 1/4 of the original proposed logging area and includes 72 acres of oldgrowth. 129 acres of oldgrowth remain proposed for logging.

Herbicide Issues
On June 13. 2006 CDF reopened public comment for 10 days after Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) added a lengthy section to their THP regarding herbicide use and their scope of assessment of impacts to animals.
The addition of this information was clearly prompted by a ruling against two of SPI’s THPs in the Sierras. The court concluded that SPI’s herbicide assessment and “biological assessment areas” were inadequate. As outlined in EPIC’s public comments* the ruling applies to the Windmill THP.

Public comment closed on June 28th, the plan was approved August 8th, 2006.

[soon to come, a look at some of the public comments and how CDF responded.]

Fair and Square?

Pacific Lumber has given the Eureka Reporter another exclusive story in which the new PL CEO George O'Brien repeatedly calls for fair treatment.

“One reason PALCO is having troubles today is (Maxxam’s reputation),” O’Brien said. “People can find fault with any situation. But I can tell you, PALCO can be made to work. Can we solve all of the problems with all of the regulators around here? Probably not. Is there a way to build more trust? I hope so, particularly if people are willing to be fair.”

Soft-spoken, O’Brien says he’s a quick learner, a good listener, understanding, fair and not afraid to admit when he’s made a mistake. He also likes to work and is “generally known for being able to deliver on my promises.”

“People have to be fair with us,” O’Brien said. “There is fair, and there is fair.


Well which is it?

Do you mean that in a "Fair's Fair, we were here first" sort of way?

Is that like "All's fair in love and war" ?

Or do you truly intend to treat others, including opponents, with the same fairness you are demanding?

Blaming PL's problems on Maxxam's reputation and "regulators" isn't too fair to begin with.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Bridge Blockade Cuts Off Access To Kalmiopsis Logging Site

Update [10:11 am]: Word has that law enforcement will soon begin an attempt to "extract" or remove this person from the platform.

Early this morning, people defending the Kalmiopsis region from logging set up a blockade on a bridge. They say the blockade is a structure called a cantilever. This seems to entail a log that is lashed across the bridge and extending over the river which is a good distance below. A person is suspended from the end of the log on a hanging platform. This puts them out of reach of law enforcement for now. If the blockade is tampered with it could collapse.

The following quote is not credited to anyone but is at the end of the linked article.

"This assault on our public lands is a disaster for the forest, a taxpayer rip off and it's against the will of the vast majority of the American people. It is the result of a broken democracy and I am taking this action today to jumpstart the system of checks and balances that is supposed to protect us from the tyranny of an authoritarian government so this doesn't happen again."

Here's the full press release.


CONTACT: Laurel Sutherlin, (541) 659-2917
Ginger Cassady, (415) 640-7155


Early this morning, protestors erected a daring road blockade to halt logging at the Mike's Gulch Timber Sale in the Siskiyou National Forest, site of the first ever incursion into an Inventoried Roadless Area since the passage of the federal Roadless Rule in 2001. At least one activist is suspended in a cantilever off the side of the Green Bridge above the Illinois River in a manner that prohibits traffic across the bridge without endangering the life of the person hanging from it.

This dramatic action follows years of lawsuits, rallies, public comment periods and national media attention involving tens of thousands of people speaking out against the logging of the Biscuit. Over 2 million people submitted comments to protect our nation's roadless areas before the Biscuit fire and over 20,000 citizens submitted public comments opposing the Biscuit logging when it was proposed, and almost 100 arrests have been made of people engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience protesting the massive logging project.

The Governors of Oregon, California, Washington and New Mexico are
currently suing the Bush Administration to retain roadless area
protections and an injunction meant to halt the Biscuit logging in
particular has been filed but has not yet been ruled on by a federal court.

The public process that lead to the creation of the Roadless Rule, which protected almost sixty million acres of the most wild and pristine public lands remaining in the United States from destructive practices like logging and mining, involved more citizen input than any other piece of federal policy on any issue in the history of this country. Despite this overwhelming public support for protection of roadless areas, the Bush Administration has aggressively pursued stripping the protections it provides by opening these areas up to massive commercial timber harvest.

"This assault on our public lands is a disaster for the forest, a taxpayer rip off and it's against the will of the vast majority of the American people. It is the result of a broken democracy and I am taking this action today to jumpstart the system of checks and balances that is supposed to protect us from the tyranny of an authoritarian government so this doesn't happen again."


Monday, August 07, 2006

Huge Protest Today in Medford

As I write this people are piling into vehicles and heading towards the Siskyou Forest Supervisors office in Medford, Oregon.
It's also likely that as I write this logging is beginning in one of the wildest and most diverse forests left on earth, the Kalmiopsis. More to come as events unfold.

Update:As logging began in the south Kalmiopsis roadless area, over 100 people attended a protest rally at the Forest Service office in Medford. At one point 12 people wearing shirts with the message " Roadless is Priceless" sat down in the road in front of the office in an act of civil disobedience.

"I'm putting myself on the front line to take a stand against the Bush Administrations assault on America's forests." said Kate Ritley one of those participating in the sit-in. All twelve were subsequently arrested.

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