Excerpts from:Fast forward
by Hank Sims
"On that day, at a press conference in San Francisco, the Redwood Forest Foundation announced that it had acquired just over 50,000 acres of timber land in northerwestern Mendocino County — the so-called “Usal Redwood Forest,” which borders on the Sinkyone Wilderness. The $65 million deal was fully financed by Bank of America, which a few months earlier announced that it had created a $20 billion fund “to support the growth of environmentally sustainable business activity to address global climate change.” RFFI announced that it would pay back the loan through the sale of conservation easements, and through sustainable logging practices that adhered to the organization’s “three E’s”: environment, economy and social equity. The sale was covered in the San Francisco Chronicle and the Los Angeles Times, and several major financial publications are apparently working on their own stories."
"The goal for Usal, and for any other project RFFI will become involved with, is what the group is calling “community forestry.” The term isn’t yet well defined, Harwood said, and so one of the first things the foundation will do is arrange what some are calling a “constitutional convention” down in Mendocino County, bringing everyone to the table to hammer out the specifics. But there are a few baseline measures that are not only part of the foundation’s bylaws, but also written directly in the terms of the Bank of America loan. The rate of harvest must be sustainable over the long term. The land must be managed to support the local economy; logs will be sold on the open market, but only to mills in Northern California. In sum, the land must be managed as a community trust, so that future generations will continue to benefit from it economically."
"Meanwhile, things will soon be hotting up again down in Corpus Christi. And if you want a glimpse at the way the old model works, you can’t do better than to look at Pacific Lumber’s recent motions in their bankruptcy case. Having already laid off hundreds of workers, having underfunded the company’s employee pension plan by $23 million, the company is seeking to borrow an additional $75 million to add to its already insupportable debt. It’s also looking to award Pacific Lumber CEO George O’Brien a $450,000 bonus, contingent on O’Brien’s ability to further slash costs. This after Charles Hurwitz, majority owner of Palco’s parent company, Maxxam Corp., awarded himself a million dollar-plus bonus earlier in the year."