Sunday, December 23, 2007

Reserving Judgement

The recents events in Pacific Lumbers bankruptcy proceedings have once again stirred things up a bit in ol' Humco. PL and their creditors failed to agree on a reorganization plan to save the company (big suprise). Judge Schmidt will now allow other parties to file reorganization plans. The judge says he expects everything to be sorted out by April Fools day, we'll see...

Notable New Players
Included is the newly formed team of Mendocino Redwood Company and Marathon Asset Management, a PL creditor. MRC is another company that loves to publicly give temselves a big pat on the back, much like PL. However, they have a reputation for better logging practices that is deserved, to a certain degree. Judgeing by their management plan, their rate of logging in 1999 was not what I consider "liquidation". Also, it is very important to note in their favor that their management plan states they will not log old growth trees.

On the other hand they still use the logging method "Rehab" to "release" conifers like Doug Fir and Redwood from Tanoaks or other hardwoods. This generally involves clearcutting a stand, or just cutting the valuable trees and then applying herbicides to the hardwood trees. The herbicides used in the forest industry are toxic to Humans, Fish, and other life if they enter the body. They can cause birth defects, sterility and cancer.

In my eyes the FSC sustainabile logging certification lends little or no credibility in and of itself. This is a picture of FSC certified logging in South Africa.

PL's Plan
PL seems to think their plan to sell land for housing development and to sell the Marbled Murrelet Conservation Areas (aka "Ancient Groves", aka MMCA'S) is still the best. (BTW, the groves are not all ancient). How can PL be so sure that someone would buy the MMCA's at their exorbitant asking price of $60,000 an acre? Would some entity who wants to save redwoods be so bullheaded as to offer a purchase before this was all sorted out, thereby strengthening Maxxams position in Humboldt?


At 12/24/2007 12:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are correct, the FSC sustainable certification is meaningless. MRC clear cut all of its old growth quite sometime ago so it is sort irrelevant.

But, MRC has even more to offer...they are big owners in the GAP which incidently likes to exploit seven year olds to make garments to sell to us.

No thank you, I will support the plan that preserves forest and gives us mixed density housing.

At 12/24/2007 01:29:00 PM, Blogger John Doe #86 said...

When did MRC clearcut oldgrowth?

The FSC certification is almost as meaningless to me as the SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) certification that PL has. SFI is an industry run group, another fox gaurding the henhouse.

To be specific, MRC is not an owner of the GAP - the family that owns the GAP,the Fishers, owns MRC.

At 12/26/2007 09:02:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

JD 86 - what difference does that make? Ok - the same family who owns MRC owns the GAP which exploits asian children. Doesn't change my point at all. Just strengthens it.

At 12/26/2007 12:21:00 PM, Blogger John Doe #86 said...

I hear your point. And it's important to have your facts straight when debating. I don't thin MRC has any ownership of the GAP. In fact I'm going to try and find some info about the corporate structure of the GAP and how it is related to MRC.

I don't really support any of the plans I've heard so far but I can see the good and bad in each.

I'm definitly not going to argue that the Fishers are more ethical than Hurwitz. Also, it's still a bit cloudy who owns what when it come to the Fishers. Could you point me in a direction that would help clarify this?

At 12/26/2007 03:22:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

read all about it.

MRC is on the corporate swine list.

At 12/27/2007 12:25:00 PM, Anonymous Bolithio said...

Hmmm, is there any information on the GAP and/or MRC that isn't from a completely biased source? The "corporate swine" page has no credibility. The way everything is worded on that page is so slanted it is laughable. Not to mention that they seem to offer no citations or sources for their "claims".

Where is the proof that the GAP exploits sweatshop workers? First of all, sweetshop implies exploitation, so the statement is almost a double-negative. There has to be a consideration by us, that just becuase something is made in another country, it is not made in an exploitive fashion. I have been to southeast Asia, and i went to several factories and textile manufactures, and I saw no exploitation. Im not saying it doesn't happen - it obviously does - but before anyone states something is fact it needs to be based on something real, nothing else.

As far as MRC, the author of the site is obviously just makeing things up. Here is quote from the site:

"The Mendocino Redwood Company clearcutting 350 square miles of Northern Californian Ancient Redwood forestland, or the Gap Inc. exploiting sweatshop workers in the production of their culturally homogeneous attire."

lol - thats a big clearcut! Have they finished it yet? When they do, I guess they are not going to be logging for a Another thing that is funny is that the statement implies that the the MRC ownership is comprised of 350 sq miles of Ancient Old Growth! Wow thats even more impressive, considering I dont even think the state parks have that much old growth... I also don't see how capping on the style of clothing they produce helps the cause? It is unclear to me how their demographic of clothing is related to any of this; which is my eyes points to the authors obvious bias.

and it goes on to say:

"The Mendocino Redwood Company bought 235,000 acres of forestland from Louisiana Pacific in 1998. Much of this land had been destroyed over the last half century by clearcutting and burning, and MRC now continue the practice in order to supply its main distributor, Home Depot, with redwood decks and furniture."

So the land was destroyed and now they are going to continue to destroy it? If the land was destroyed, how can it continue to produce redwood to supply Home Depot? And didn't they say that it was all Old Growth earlier? So the old growth was destroyed in the first part of the century, but now they are clear-cutting 350 sq miles of it? Im confused, are you?


At 12/27/2007 02:08:00 PM, Blogger John Doe #86 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 12/27/2007 02:10:00 PM, Blogger John Doe #86 said...

MRC is on the corporate swine list.
Well then!

I don't find it to be a reliable source either. It repeats (and exaggerates) commonly heard criticisms of MRC but doesn't really back it up.

What I'm trying to find info on is the corporate structure.

Regardless of all of that, I'm surely not convinced that Maxxam/PL's reorganization plan is better than the MRC/Marathon plan.

Don't forget that no-one will be allowed to log the Marbled Murrelet Conservation Areas for 40 more years.

I'll ask again because I would really like to know if it's true, when and where did MRC clearcut all of it's oldgrowth as you previously stated?

At 12/28/2007 03:54:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

-bah I just deleted my post-

Here we go again:

Ill take a stab at this. This is bases solely on my intuition. I would guess that regardless of who own the majority of the shares of the company, they have a CEO, a board of directors, etc, who make the major decisions which trickle down from there. Being that MRC operates a mill, im thinking they have a quota for volume each year they want to see delivered to the mill to maintain production. The amount of this is most likely based on data collected from their timberstands which is modeled to estimate current and predicted future volume. From this timber managers layout and develop timber harvest plans.

**These units are most likely even aged. That means clear-cut, commercial thin, and two aged systems like shelterwood or seed tree.**

The way they are going to differ from MAXXAM/PALCO is that the purchase will be legit, approved of by they shareholders, with no junk bonds. This alone will be a overwhelmingly positive change.

I also think that MRC operates very similar to Simpson/Green Diamond. On a side note, I have read a few studies by MRC staff on fishery restoration and sediment yields in north coast watersheds. Recently I attended a anadromous fisheries seminar in redding and the fishery team at MRC presented some of their work in habitat restoration on some of their ownership. Allot of positive work is being done right now on this front by them and Green Diamond to name a few.

Being that mendo and Sonoma counties tend to be much more controversial when it comes to logging (due to the close proximity of cities and wealth) I think MRC will fit nicely here in HUM CO.

At 12/28/2007 03:59:00 PM, Anonymous Bolithio said...

Oh and when did they log their OG? Well most OG was cut on private lands in the 50-60s, so thats my guess, regardless to who owned it at the time. Some stands could have remained into the 80-90s but they would have been few in numbers and acreage. As far as the major watersheds like Noyo and Albion, there were trains than ran right up those rivers to ocean. They were built in the 1880s - and logging continued there until it was gone. Note that the technology limited them from entering the higher ground - which would be harvested later after the truck and chainsaw were invented.

alot of the pictures in the historic book Logging the Redwoods is from these areas.

OH, thats my post up there lol

At 12/28/2007 06:51:00 PM, Blogger John Doe #86 said...

I was wondering who that was.

I've read and heard first hand stories about protests and direct action (road blockades and tree-sits) against oldgrowth logging on the Albion River in the early 90's but I can't remember if it was Georgia Pacific or Louisiana Pacific who was logging.

I've been under the impression that this is when the Mendocino companies logged most of the oldgrowth that remained after the post WWII logging boom.

I also remember that there were a couple of tree-sits in the late 90's and 2000 after MRC bought the land.

I'm skeptical of of their logging practices but I am deeply troubled by what I've read of factories overseas that produce clothing for the GAP. Indentured child labor, slaves basically, being physicaly and mentally abused and I can't ignore the connection between the GAP and MRC.

click here to read about GAP's connection with child slave labor.

At 1/04/2008 01:13:00 PM, Anonymous Bolithio said...

Re the Gap:

The article you reference there makes me think that at least they are making an effort to limit human rights abuses associated with there clothing production. Unlike allot of companies, they admitted to the connections, and claim they have eliminated the contracts. So if cooperate responsibility is something we all want; accountability, mitigation, and reform - well to me it would appear (again only based on the article) that some steps in thew right direction have been made.


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