Friday, May 16, 2008

Last PL Bankruptcy Hearing Was Yesterday

Oops, sorry for the misinfo in yesterdays post saying that the last hearing would be today. The stories in the Eureka Reporter and the Times Standard give a little insight but not much on what Judge Schmidt may be thinking.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Direct Action is a Factor in the Value of PL- Closing Arguments Tomorrow in Bankrutpcy

Tomorrow: Closing arguments in Pacific Lumbers bankruptcy case in Corpus Christi, Texas. The ruling that will set the future of the company in motion will follow next but know one knows exactly when.

On another note, the recent mention by a bankruptcy lawyer of the costs the company incurs due to lawsuits and protests had me thinking back. I recently visited a friend of mine from back in the Mattole Free State days of the early 2000's when numerous actions were taken to oppose the logging of 3,000 acres of Old growth Douglas Fir in the Mattole River Watershed. Much was logged but the resistance was stubborn and hard core and 2,000 acres of Old growth forest are still there. Many huge trees still bear the blue or day-glo orange stripes used to mark them for cutting.

I asked my friend to remind me of how much money Pacific Lumber claimed they had lost due to forest defense actions in the Mattole in their "SLAPP" lawsuit. He told me that it was over $100,000. He said that PL's chief financial officer testified that the true total loss due to the countless road blockades, forest occupation, tree-sits and lock downs was impossible to fully quantify because of the ripple effect down the production line.

The activists that took the lawsuit to trial ended up with no monetary punishment but an injunction against them making it more illegal to go onto PL land. I don't think PL won significant monetary claims against the others.

John Driscoll of the Times-Standard reported the following on May 1st-

Experts who determined growth rate, harvest schedules and values for Palco subsidiary Scotia Pacific laid out their reports, and defended them against a barrage of questions from attorneys. Lawyers for other parties suggested that their methods were uncertain and failed to take into account economic and cultural issues.

Ira Shields, an attorney for the noteholders, who are owed some $714 million, said that Scopac forest expert Don Reimer failed to assume that future regulations might affect harvest rates. Reimer also didn't account for environmental lawsuits and activism, Shields suggested.

”You got the tree huggers,” Shields said in a heavy southern drawl. “You got Julia Butterfly Hill.”

Hill spent two years in a redwood on Palco lands protesting its logging practices.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

No to Maxxam, No to Sierra Pacific Industries, Yes to Local Control of our Forests

I'm guessing my blogs title will soon be outdated. The Maxxam corporation seems to be on it's way out and the last hearing in the bankruptcy is scheduled for friday. It's still to soon for me to venture a guess at the outcome but it is nice to see that Maxxam/Pacific Lumber has abandoned their plan for a vast residential development in the hills of central Humboldt and are now backing the Mendocino Redwood/Marathon bid for the company. Disturbingly, the notorious clear cutter Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) has entered the picture by teaming up with Harvard and they want to take over the sawmill at Scotia.

Oldgrowth logs from SPI's logging in Davis Creek

SPI is the largest land owner in California and owns about 2 million acres of land here and elsewhere. There's already a campaign based in the Sierra Nevada against SPI's clear cut logging practices and local forest defenders here have had their eye on SPI's logging of ancient forests for a while now. If SPI becomes part of what is to replace Pacific Lumber then it will pull the new company into the conflicts SPI faces now and in the future.

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