Wednesday, August 01, 2007

100 Millworkers Laid Off, Scotia Mill To Close for a Month

Area papers are reporting the layoff of 100 Pacific Lumber employees and a month long shutdown of the Scotia Mill. This is due to the ongoing financial and resource depletion at the hands of the Maxxam corporation. Maxxam CEO Charles Hurwitz executed a hostile takeover of PL in the early 1980's using money from savings and loan scams. Hurwitz has kept the company in perpetual debt while siphoning off millions of dollars.Pacific Lumber filed for bankruptcy protection last year when they were unable to make payments to their creditors. Much of PL's debt is collateralized by their timberlands. The "ad hoc committee" of creditors wants the land to be handed over to them. The ad hoc committee includes large banks and insurance companies. A lawyer representing the committee in court has said that they want to implement sustainable forestry practices if they gain control of the land. They claim this is good buisness sense and that they are not tree-huggers.

Judge Schmidt to Visit
The Judge presiding over the bankruptcy hearings (in Corpus Christi, Texas) confirmed that he will be visiting the town of Scotia this summer, saying he would give the parties a two week notice.

Visit Humboldt Herald for more news.


At 8/01/2007 12:18:00 PM, Anonymous Heraldo said...

Thanks for the link.

Any thoughts on where PL will find big enough trees to make "high value, high quality redwood products?”

At 8/02/2007 09:59:00 AM, Blogger Marin Dan said...

Looks like the Forest Defenders are getting what they want, but they will have a huge fight on their hands now. Looks like the very actions to save the forest might have jeopardized it by driving PALCO into the high value trees. Does high value mean old growth.....Opps! That might have backfired! Climb’em while you got’em, but make sure your not in the restricted wildlife areas, otherwise you will be committing either a State or Federal ‘take’ of an endangered species. Remember, harassment is part of committing a take. Your presence is considered harassment and I think the timber companies should go after trespassers for this in the future.

At 8/02/2007 12:27:00 PM, Blogger John Doe #86 said...

Gosh Marin Dan, why would good ol' Palco be logging in the "restricted wildlife areas"?

These backwards forest defenders, forcing Palco to cut Oldgrowth. I bet the company would never have logged any oldgrowth if not for these darn tree-sitters.


But seriously, there are very few stands of Oldgrowth Redwood that are available to Palco for logging. Not to mention that the new mill at Scotia is designed for small diameter trees. Maybe they are planning to log smaller trees with tight growth rings, I don't know.

Maybe they will start throwing away (or burning)the whitewood portion of the young-growth redwood logs that are the majority of what they mill.

On young Redwood trees, much of the outer layers of wood are white and do not contain the same natural preservatives found in the deeper red portion the trees. Young growth Redwood also has much wider grain and splits easily.

Last guess- they are going to start producing value-added products like furniture and hot tubs instead of exporting raw logs and lumber.

At 8/07/2007 07:48:00 AM, Anonymous Bolithio said...

No one in their right mind would be happy about this. Its no surprise to me however. Obviously as a worker in the Timber Industry, it is a concern for me, though I welcome some form of corporate change at PALCO. If the shareholders do take over, it could offer a fresh slate to begin to manage the company better. That said, its going to be an uphill battle for who ever assumes responsibility.

The good news, is that PALCO owns plenty of timberland to offer a steady stream of logs to the mill. In allot of watersheds, substantial improvements have been made to roads and watercourse crossings that ensure a solid infrastructure for logging.

"Old Growth" from an ecology stand point is a mute point when discussing PL at this point. Remember that there is a big difference between Late Successional forest stages and Old Growth as a lumber characteristic. There always has been, its just confusing becuase of the terminology. While it is true that the younger growth timber does not offer the same qualities as the historic "Old Growth", there are - and always will be - higher grades of timber within stands that provide the higher quality of grain.

Timber management requires a long term approach, and you must be able to envision stands 50, 60 years off. It may seem silly to see these trucks with a bunch of 6-8" logs on them, but that thinning will enable the stands to produce good saw timber in the future.

Hopefully the goal of all of us - Activists and Workers alike - is that we can learn from our mistakes, create a viable economy for us, and live in a healthy environment.

At 8/08/2007 11:15:00 AM, Blogger Marin Dan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8/08/2007 11:39:00 AM, Blogger Marin Dan said...

I just laugh at the fact that the peace loving activist like to pick on the little boy [PALCO] when there are huge companies having their way with the forests. Some companies I see record more acres harvested than PALCO owns on all of its lands. It is as if they logged all of PALCO every year. Anyone Anyone???? Do these companies have a habitat conservation plan? NO! Do they harvest with as many set asides? NO! As a teacher we try and teach students to analyze the facts and make proper deductions from them. This does not seem to be happening here. Or, maybe it is the fact that PALCO is just a short bus ride from Arcata? No pun intended about the short bus.

Mercy mercy mercy, you have them where you want them! However, I hope someone like Sierra Pacific Industries buys them out so everyone can see just what it means to have liquidation harvesting. Hell, Sierra Pacific Industries has another mill right there to help mill it all up for your house and deck. Maybe Weyerhaeuser can show California how it is really done. MAXXAM has owned the company for over 20 years. That’s not liquidation harvesting, or do they just suck at it? No you cannot take credit for it forest defenders because so far I do not see you have been too successful. It looks like you need more credibility before you can persevere.

Maybe you all were not thinking about this during the “lets save a tree era” but the real possibility is that a large company will take over and liquidate the forests to pay for the “PALCO” they just purchased. Isn’t that what Sierra Pacific has done several times in the past? Isn’t that what happened to Arcata Redwood Company by Simpson?

Do I want to see that happen? NO! But, I am also willing to see it happen on that small 200,000 acres so you all will open your shut eyes and take a look at these other people who do way worse on way more acres. Hell, some of them own a million plus acres and we hear nothing but a little dribble about there harvest. OOOOOOH! The forest defenders wrote an article about the Wind Mill THP that is near the ocean on Sierra Pacific Industries land. Am I mistaken or shouldn’t there be a dozen or more tree sitters in that plan? Shouldn’t they have gone to it when it was first thought marbled murrelets might be living there by the wildlife guys? Where is your direct action groups and why haven’t they stopped the logging of the individual old growth trees that are not in areas awaiting release? Isn’t that what goes on with PALCO harvest permits? My understand from your article and another is that some places they started logging, including “one log loads” of old growth and other areas are even better that surveys are being done on. Shouldn’t you be climbing and not writing or is that someone else’s job?

I do not understand. It seems hypocritical to focus on one company and not the issues when you claim is that it’s about the environment (again, one issue, even if complex). Really, the environment? I dot not think so! See it is about PALCO, or you would have as much direct action and protest at the Anderson office of Sierra Pacific, as you have at the Scotia office of PALCO. Hey, what about the old growth sugar pine being cut by the companies to the east? Why haven’t you protested its harvest? Why not focus on landowners without habitat conservation plans geared directly towards their lands? Too many questions about your real motives here.

I recently heard a representative of two conservation groups (TNC included) report that the redwoods are some of the most protected ecosystems in the US and they were turning their attention away from conservation of redwoods and towards more deserving ecosystems in peril. If that’s the case, then why all the fuss on PALCO permits? They actually have mini-reserves of old growth on their lands already. To say it is a MAXXAM issue is crap. Yeah, MAXXAM owns them and they have for over 20 years. Get over it! The owners of Green Diamond are in Washington and no it isn’t a family business!

What about Green Scam (Green Diamond) and the clear cut harvest of the Klamath? That place is amazing and I see little if any complaint about what they do. Most of their clear cuts are at the limit of the rules or over with a special excuse for why they have to cut more than what is allowed. Are you in those trees? Why not?

In one conversation you tell me PALCO has screwed the world, and in another I am told they have the last unscrewed land and no focus is on the other timber companies because there is nothing to save there. Come on! Do you buddies even believe you when you say that? Green Diamond has nothing to save? They own the old Arcata Redwood! Yeah, I have been doing a lot of research on this because I get tired of lies. Sierra Pacific Industries has nothing to save locally! I got to see some of their clear cuts while touring PALCO. What a shame. Those big stumps must have been not worthy of your attention. I think the plan I saw was all old growth they logged. There wasn’t a stump smaller than a meter across as we drove by, same with Green Diamond in the Klamath.

Shame shame shame on you all! I guess those trees are too far from home to save?

I had to delete my last post just because it wasn’t strong enough. These are my feelings and I expect no one else to share them, but I also see nothing reported here or elsewhere that would require or prompt me to change my views on this issue. I hate hypocrites that hide behind a cause and hide behind a lie for another less attractive agenda item. Sorry if I offend anyone. It really is not my intention to do so.

At 8/08/2007 11:55:00 AM, Blogger John Doe #86 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8/08/2007 12:00:00 PM, Blogger John Doe #86 said...

"Timber management requires a long term approach, and you must be able to envision stands 50, 60 years off. It may seem silly to see these trucks with a bunch of 6-8" logs on them, but that thinning will enable the stands to produce good saw timber in the future."

I agree that dense young growth needs to be thinned. I'm aware that PL is currently not only thinning but also clearcutting small diameter timber, for instance in the Poison Creek planning area.

" "Old Growth" from an ecology stand point is a mute point when discussing PL at this point. Remember that there is a big difference between Late Successional forest stages and Old Growth as a lumber characteristic."

I think that generally when conservationists speak of "Old-Growth Forests" that they are speaking of forests with late successional characteristics.

Though the forests we refer to as "Old-Growth" do not always meet the Forest Practice Rules definition of 20 acres or larger, they do have late successional characteristics like 200+ year old trees, multi layered canopies and large snags and downed logs.

Old-Growth forests make up a very small percentage of PLs entire holdings . However, Old-Growth forests are an issue in places like the Mattole watershed where there is around 2,000 acres of Old-Growth Douglas Fir on PL holdings in the North Fork. This is one of the few Old-Growth forests in the Mattole River watershed. Those trees are holding up the slopes and keeping the water shaded and cool. That benefits the Salmon and the Humans downstream.

"Hopefully the goal of all of us - Activists and Workers alike - is that we can learn from our mistakes, create a viable economy for us, and live in a healthy environment."

I completely agree.

At 8/08/2007 02:56:00 PM, Blogger John Doe #86 said...

Marin Dan-

For the most part I see forest defenders that are very dedicated to protecting certain areas of Old-Growth Forests that are threatened by PL in Freshwater Creek, Nanning Creek, and the Mattole River.

PL might be a little boy in California but has been a bully in Humboldt County.

At 8/08/2007 02:58:00 PM, Blogger John Doe #86 said...

I mean Poison Oak Creek at 12:00

At 8/08/2007 03:34:00 PM, Blogger Marin Dan said...

That proves the point that it isn’t the issue we are fighting, but rather their own personal stand causes. I guess if PALCO's land wasn't so visible to everyone they wouldn't have found their personal stand to have a cause over. They were still trespassing in the first place, but I will stay off of that soapbox for now.

Old-growth in the Mattole? That is an area I toured. These were all around the cabin/ranch area [don't know its specific name]. They were large diameters, but not old growth by any definition I have ever been given. The PALCO forester I was with [Barry] said there is old growth in the Mattole, but not nearly as much as reported by other groups. The CDF office I called in Santa Rosa told me that it can be late successional and still not be old growth and that most people misinterpreted this definition.

I still feel it is crap to pick on one and not the other. Sierra Pacific is a bully in the entire state! Where does Arnold picnic? At the Emerson ranch! The points I posted above in my last post are unfortunately true, but I can only bitch so much because I do not agree with the ‘cause’ and I do not plan on being in a tree. All I can say for certain is that the hornets nest has been kicked now, and kicked hard, so the environmental groups better be activated in force and ready to go or your too late. Hell, if you’re not in your stand now you might already be too late. PALCO will have to cut with a vengeance now to feed a new owner or restructure debt. Sorry to say, but that’s what happens. I do think there was a lot of short sightedness and it pisses me off to see what goes on everywhere else without issue.

No one wants a piece of the questions and statements above huh? I thought for sure someone would call me on it.

At 8/08/2007 03:37:00 PM, Blogger Marin Dan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8/09/2007 08:27:00 AM, Anonymous bolithio said...

Ill take a piece. By calling another landowner a Bully doesn't help. If you want to talk about the net loss of habitat bringing up any company California is pointless in my opinion. I have suggested this to activists before. In my home state of Oregon - the timber industry is almost nil due to the over harvest of timberland. Go on google earth, and start here in Humboldt. Get down on some clearcuts, then just start working your way north. You will note that you can consistently increase the hight of your view as the size of the management blocks increase. Bottom line, by the time you reach BC all bets are off.

Morale of the story - to swing this train back on topic - once you reach Canada, you find another of the root issues behind the mill closing down. Beyond miss management - which is paramount - In Canada you have have a unregulated timber industry subsidized by the government. This means cheaper logs and more of them, at the expense of US wood. That is why there is always debate over terifs on Canadian wood.

And Dan - While most people wont admit this, alot of the rules that are in place in the whole state of CA are a direct result of activism in Humboldt. Do some research on redwood summer 92/93. Those days are over however, and sometimes I see and read things that the activist community do and think Both sides can provide mis-information, spin facts, BUT... I do think with the majority - again speaking for both sides - have their hearts right. People may disagree, but deep down there are good people.

That said, the good news is that within the so-called timber industry, there are alot of younger people working within it that are less jaded than the last generation. We(I) may be more cynical than ever, but the common ground is already seeping in.

So lets talk and not talk shit - you know?

At 8/09/2007 12:02:00 PM, Blogger Marin Dan said...

I like your views, but still think as above. Not talking shit and the lack of rebuttal seems to speak volumes in that regard. It is all about PALCO! Especially since they have the best untainted forests in California, but I thought they were raping the land??? Oh hell, I am all confused by the information I have been given here?!?!?!?!?

At 8/09/2007 05:17:00 PM, Anonymous Bolithio said...

I think you are confused. Like for instance - the name of this blog is Stop Maxxam - not other companies. Also, Im not sure what you have on SPI or Green Diamond, but they are just as regulated. And yes, Maxxam is destroying PALCO. That is why wthe mill is shut down. Hurwitz will likely refinance after a month of fresh revenues fill the books, take the cash, and repeat the process. Classic white collar crime. That is a form of liquidation. I frequent this site becuase I want to stop Maxxam as ell - but for different reasons than readers likely.

At 8/10/2007 06:55:00 AM, Blogger Marin Dan said...

Well it is obvious you are a forester, but not a PALCO forester. Do you work on PALCO?

At 8/11/2007 01:22:00 PM, Blogger John Doe #86 said...

You seem to know an awful lot of minute details about Humboldt. Who do you work for Marin Dan?

At 8/12/2007 11:07:00 AM, Blogger Marin Dan said...

I am a retired teacher from Marin County Schools having served more than one district. I have served in both biology and philosophy [I include ethics here] for single subjects as well as serving multiple subject classes. I have been substitute teaching the last two years.

I have time to pick a hobby now! And since we may be moving to Humboldt to capitalize on cheaper living than Marin, I thought it best to be caught up. Great part about the world these days is that all you need to do is call people sometimes to get the right answer, but mostly society wants to sit on their CPU like we are now and spread the 3rd word.

At 8/13/2007 11:20:00 AM, Blogger John Doe #86 said...

Marin Dan- Ethics eh?

Let's look at some of your previous statements.

"I hope someone like Sierra Pacific Industries buys them out so everyone can see just what it means to have liquidation harvesting."

"Do I want to see that happen? NO! But, I am also willing to see it happen on that small 200,000 acres so you all will open your shut eyes and take a look at these other people who do way worse on way more acres."

BTW, what do you mean you are "willing to see it happen", what does your willingness have to do the situation?

At 8/14/2007 12:15:00 PM, Blogger Marin Dan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8/14/2007 12:45:00 PM, Blogger Marin Dan said...

“…Willing to see it happen?” Easy, I am willing to watch another timber company step in on PALCO’s land in MAXXAM’s place and liquidate the forests to pay the new debt they acquire from the purchase so “you all will open your shut eyes and take a look at these other people who do way worse on way more acres.” Just because you do not agree with my ethics due to our difference of opinion on an issue does not mean it is not ethical for me to feel the way that I do. The State law represents my trust and the State Resource Agency represents my interests in the environmental law. You my friend are in opposition to the law, not I. When a permit is deemed lawful, I am satisfied. Especially considering our depth of environmental law in California compared to ANY other state in the Union, and our overall environmental concern from within the masses.

Yes, I am willing to see Sierra Pacific have their way legally with the PALCO’s 200,000 acres just so people can realize that it really was not as bad as portrayed. A lot more can occur under the law than even PALCO has pushed for. I think Sierra Pacific or Green Diamond can show us that. If the State approves the plan with its experts, who are you or I to oppose it without being formally trained as an expert in that field and actually having the credibility. Credibility is the downfall of most protest actions. I think I am clear here. It is all about PALCO and I think that sort of shortsightedness will result in even more impact to the lands formerly known as the Pacific Lumber Company!

At 8/14/2007 12:54:00 PM, Anonymous Bolithio said...

I don't think so. First of all, PALCO lands are under an HCP. That HCP transefers with the property. So if PALCO timberlands are sold not much management-wise will change.

Another observation: If you were a large timber owner, why would you want to liquidate all your forests? SPI is a completely different situation than PALCO under Maxxam control. Infact, PALCO is fairly unique. A timber company wants to be able to produce X amount of volume a year consistently, which would not work well with a "liquidation" strategy. A good sign of this would be land for sale. Have you seen any SPI or Green Diamond land for sale recently?

PALCO is controlled by a out-of-state enterprise that has no interest in maintaining a long term viable company at PALCO. This is not true of SPI and Green Diamond, who are in it for the long term (at least as of now).

No, if SPI bought out PALCO it would be a positive thing, because the intensity of management would not change, but the company would be managed better.

No, if PALCO lands are broken up and sold to the highest bidder, that would be the worst scenario, as the lands would most likely be bought by people with the intention of rural development, and/or 'agriculture' which will undoubtedly result in unregulated road building, creek crossings, and pollution.

At 8/15/2007 07:48:00 AM, Blogger Marin Dan said...

See bolithio has a cause regardless of the owner. He wants too keep forestlands out of developers hands and properly managed. I like that.

At 8/16/2007 11:09:00 AM, Blogger John Doe #86 said...

"keep forestlands out of developers hands and properly managed."

A sentiment that you'd be hard pressed to find oppositon too on this blog.

At 8/16/2007 11:10:00 AM, Blogger John Doe #86 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8/16/2007 11:12:00 AM, Blogger John Doe #86 said...

The real debate is over what constitutes "proper management"

At 8/19/2007 02:02:00 PM, Anonymous A said...

I dont think activists around here are picking on PL. Just because someone else has a worse clearcut doesnt reduce our concern over Palco's practices to vindication. SPI and Simpson’s clearcuts are deplorable but Palco’s rate of cut (i.e. BF per ac per year) has been quite a bit higher. Palco may be a "little boy", but if so, they are a little boy still capable of filling in creeks, declining fish populations, deceptive aggressive attitude, unacceptable clearcuts (see diner and kiler creek south of scotia) etc. A big factor in the focus on PL is that many of us have grown up or live adjacent to PL. we have a vested and localized interest. Call it NIMBY if you want but it is what I see, and you cant blame people for being outraged when Palco unecessarily fucks up the wateshed. You are kidding yourself if you think we are part of some grand strategic plan (including TNC? Ha!). most of us are individuals reacting in our own ways what we see upstream. Ive personally spent a huge portion of my life drinking water that drained from either simpson or Palco, therefore….

But Palco does its share of clearcutting too and I think we have the same undesireable results on the different ownerships, just different routes to get there. SPI mows its like a lawn, GDRC has its little cookie cutter clearcuts and PL eats it up from around the edges like mange. The end result is looking the same. young forest with questionable productivity after the burning and soil compaction, strips of scraggly trees along the bigger creek and plantation-style forest in the headwaters, too many roads, too many culverts and a decreasing inventory (of harvestable high quality timber) rather than a stable or increasing one. I know the rules are supposed to prevent companies from cutting forests that are too young (i.e the requirement for high quality timber products) but many THPs these days target very young stands. How can RFPs sincerely write these plans and think they are good forestry?

On thinning: Bolitho’s comment on timber management requiring a long term approach is accurate. in my opinion 50 years is a little too young for a functional forest but if the minimum age was 60 years on site I we'd be a lot better off then the status quo. There needs to be a lot of thinning in these forests to make them productive and high quality. but what I often see are overstocked, suppressed stands with a THP for a clearcut where there should be a plan for thinning. Foresters say that the stand is unhealthy and stagnant and they need to start from scratch and CDF doesnt even blink. And when they do use thinning they max out what they can take instead of only taking out enough timber to release the stand. Commercial thinning may not be the thing that will “enable the stands to produce good saw timber in the future”. Thinning from below, pre-commercial thinning and selection on the other hand…
I note that when the Institute for Sustainable Forestry released a valuation report of the Palco lands they stated “one disturbing trend is that SCOPAC has apparently not accomplished any precommercial thinning (other 214 acres in 1999) , when the draft SYP predicts that all clearcut acres need to be precomercially thinned.”

marin dan, i find your comments insulting only because actions have been and continue to be taken up here to try to change the way Simpson and SPI operate, and generally the same demands are applied to them as to Palco, i.e we need better forestry, please dont kill the fish etc. These actions -which dont come in the form of treesits- dont make the front page, or Indymedia for that matter so maybe they just arnt as apparent to you. you will fit right in up here with your strong opinions! welcome,

Towards a viable local economy, and a healthy environment…

At 8/29/2007 09:14:00 AM, Blogger Marin Dan said...

John #86

From your comments I assume you are a training, educated and registered forester, otherwise your not qualified to make those statements and you need to put your money where your mouth is and go to school, get the training and education so you can be taken seriously when state these "facts"

At 8/29/2007 09:21:00 PM, Blogger John Doe #86 said...

Remind me what "facts" you are referring to.

At 8/31/2007 08:46:00 AM, Blogger Marin Dan said...

I should not have to remind you of your own statements just because we now have 30 posts. You should read this and your Nanning post and you can re-educate yourself.


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