Thursday, April 26, 2007

Hey Noteholders, Bring It On!

"Lets bring on the battle we all know is going to happen." Evan Flaschen, attorney for the Ad Hoc Noteholders committee.

Now that Judge Schmidt has agreed with Maxxam that Pacific Lumbers nerve center is in Texas, we shall see if the Noteholders will follow through on thier threat to sue Scopac managers, board of directors and Maxxam corporation for fraud. This would be on the grounds that PL misrepresented their principal place of buisness as being in Scotia, Ca., Pacific Lumbers historic company owned town.

Arcata Encampment

The public encampment to protest the ban on sleeping on public property in Arcata was raided yesterday morning by police. Folks have since relocated to the front of Arcata city hall.Lots of coverage on Indybay.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Strategy Re: Maxxam/PL (revised)

Some local advocates of sustainable forestry, spanning a wide political spectrum, see the Pacific Lumber bankruptcy as a chance to make things right. I think the hope is that the Noteholders committee, who has declared the intention to turn the PL subsidiary Scopac into a sustainable logging outfit, will somehow wrest control of the timberlands from Maxxam.

A quick check-in on the status of the bankruptcy proceedings in Texas would seem to throw doubt upon this possibility.

Though Charles Hurwitz knowingly ran the company into the ground, causing massive environmental damage and destabilizing the local economy, it's looking like he might remain in control as a result of the bankruptcy proceedings and reorganization.

So far the Judge has been very sympathetic with Maxxams position in this whole thing, comparing their sham phone booth office to his own first office, and threatening to sanction those who are against holding the hearings in Texas.

In fact, he has ruled in their favor every step of the way;

- Yes to lifting the 10,000 a month salary cap for Hurwitz's henchmen at PL, O'Brien, Clark and Bacik.
- No to SAR status thus preventing foreclosure by the Noteholders.
- Yes to the Texas venue.

Lets not expect a Texas judge to turn the timberlands over to the Noteholders. Nor should we rely on the Noteholders, a group of powerful bankers and insurance companies, to turn things around.

I think that any strategizing at this point needs to encompass the multiple possible outcomes of the bankruptcy reorganization
including the possibilty that Maxxam stays in control.

Basic to any organizational strategy is the size and diversity of the support base.

While those on the frontlines of this issue are fully engaged and submerged in the theory, the attention of those on the periphery wanders or their perception of events is skewed.

I've talked to numerous people who had a complete misunderstanding of what the bankruptcy means for PL. Some thought logging on PL land has stopped or that PL is going out of buisness.

There are many people in this county who don't read the corporate news rags or use the internet. How can we reach these folks?

Let's work with the people for whom these issues are inescapable and directly affect our way of life, the inhabitants of Humboldt County. Until the people of this region have popular control of our resources our interests will not be prioritized.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Logs From Davis Creek...


Though there have been many sightings of trucks carrying "one log loads" out of Sierra Pacific land near Petrolia this winter and spring, this is the first picture that documents this. These were seen coming down the wildcat (road from Petrolia to Ferndale) last month. To learn more about the Oldgrowth logging plan near Petrolia, Ca. and Sierra Pacific Industries check out these links.

SPI Oldgrowth Logging
Sierra Pacific Info.

note: this is a public road with two way traffic.

In other news: people have established a tent encampment in an Arcata park to fight for the right to sleep on public property without police harrasment.

Wild Earth 2007: The Wild and the Human

link to story.

In the growing twilight, two dozen plump deer are grazing at the far edge of a meadow. Suddenly they look up, alert. Two humans are sneaking along the edge of the forest pretending to stalk the deer, playing a game of predator and prey.

Welcome to the Wild Earth Rendezvous. This gathering, set for the first week of June, is similar to activist training camps hosted by the Ruckus Society and Rainforest Action Network, but with a do-it-yourself flavour. The gathering is close to endangered old-growth forests but far from the nearest paved road, in a low-impact wilderness camp. (Folks bring their own tents.) The Food Not Bombs crew prepares vegetarian meals with ingredients brought in from dumpsters in nearby cities. All kinds of people swap stories at night around the campfire: native and non-native environmentalists, anarchists, liberals, grizzled old campaigners and eager young volunteers. Everyone gets the chance to plot the next forest defense action, which is typically just a short drive up the road.

Wild Earth 2006 was held at Newcastle Island Provincial Park, which is managed by the Snuneymuxw First Nation. It's not a wilderness site, although most of the island is old-growth forest. Wild Earthlings met with the staff ahead of time and reserved a large group campsite and the barn-like pavilion for the rendezvous and the BC Environmental Network's annual members meeting. The Snuneymuxw folks were happy to meet with us and pleased we'd chosen the park for the action training.

The government, however, was not pleased at all. The local Ministry of the Environment office got a tip from an anti-environmental informer about the upcoming rendezvous. The bureaucrat in charge laid into us with a series of harsh emails and stern phone calls. He threatened to evict the group from the park if we climbed a single tree or picked one edible plant. A tremendous amount of negotiation and diplomacy was required to convince him the gathering was non-commercial and wouldn't harm the environment. (It was hard keeping a straight face during some of these discussions, since the same Ministry presides over clearcuts, mining, and all kinds of commercial mayhem.)

The climbing trainers from Oregon faced a tougher adversary: Canadian border guards. It seems the customs service has a problem with activists coming to visit, and the Oregonians' attempts to negotiate their way in failed. The crew was forced to turn back. Fortunately, Canadian climbers came to the rescue and filled in for the missing Americans. The tree climbing training went ahead as scheduled.

This summer's gathering is June 1st through 7th, somewhere in BC. Twenty grassroots environmentalists have already signed on, and leading the pack is Earth First! co-founder Mike Roselle. Mike agreed to give a special presentation about direct action - but he also faces the hurdle of the Canadian border. Mike's been arrested more times than he can count, and the immigration lawyer he hired says getting into Canada may be impossible. The Wild Earthlings haven't given up on him though, and the legal manueverings continue.

Chief Qwatsinas (Ed Moody), a hereditary leader of the Nuxalk Nation in Bella Coola, will deliver a special report on the Great Bear Rainforest and indigenous rights. Qwatsinas and the House of Smayusta, Nuxalk traditionalists, have led blockades and actions to press for rainforest protection since 1997, but they do not support last year's Great Bear Rainforest agreement. "It's talk and log," says Qwatsinas.

Those of us living in BC are blessed with magnificence: old-growth cedars dipping curved limbs into the ocean, mammoth Douglas firs big as cathedrals, grey whales basking in the warm shallows. We also get to watch it all go down. Clearcuts, mudslides, floods, drought, wildfires, rising seas - it's all here. The government and major enviro groups say "the war in the woods" is over, thanks to compromise deals in the Great Bear Rainforest and Clayoquot Sound. But their press releases don't mention that chainsaws are rapidly leveling the forests that were left out of the protection zones. Indigenous land rights are disregarded as the province plays legal games with land transfers, development, and mining at the expense of wildlife and fish habitat.

The Wild Earthlings know that grassroots direct action levels the playing field. People working together can stop business as usual on stolen land. Forest defense consists of dozens of different tactics and strategies in tandem, and we're here to make sure folks can use every tool in the box.

For one week a year, Wild Earth creates an activist community based on unity and solidarity. This is an opportunity to start relationships that can last a lifetime. Take a moment now to sign up, and join us this June. Send an email to earth_first (at) resist (dot) ca.

Workshops for Wild Earth 2007:
Non-violence Training
Tree-climbing and Tree-sitting
Grassy Narrows First Nation vs. Weyerhaeuser
Legal Rights for Arrestees
Secwepemc Nation vs. Sun Peaks
Mt. Elphinstone campaign
Rising Tide Climate Action
Anarchist Action
First Nations and Environment (music performance)
Safe Harvest
Chant to be Heard
Natural Selection Forestry
Activist Security 101

Volunteer presenters needed for:
Indigenous Land and Rights
Intro to Environmental Racism
Guerrilla Media
Assistance with Non-violence Training
Action Support and Solidarity
Green Scare Update
Wild Womyn's Circle
Other topics (suggestions welcome)

Volunteers also needed for:

Suggested donation for the week-long camp: $20 to $50 (sliding scale) Low-income and volunteers free. Travel scholarships may be available for presenters. Suggestions, ideas and questions are welcome - email earth_first (at) resist (dot) ca. More info, history and photos are on the Wild Earth blog:

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