Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 2, 1999
ENVIRONMENTALISTS CITE SERIOUS FLAWS IN HEADWATERS DEAL
ONLY 10% OF HEADWATERS FOREST IS PERMANENTLY PROTECTED
Despite recent reports of a dead deal, the Headwaters Forest deal was
completed through last-minute closed-door negotiations yesterday between
state and federal officials and the Pacific Lumber Company and Charles
Hurwitz. The final agreement allows the company to log 178 million board-feet
of timber per year. Previous estimates derived from an analysis of the
Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) had placed that figure at 136 million board
feet per year.
This concession to the company combined with the weak logging restrictions
of the HCP left many environmental groups extremely skeptical. Serious
flaws remain in the agreement despite the state's insistence on restrictions
which the company had deemed unacceptable but then accepted in the end.
These flaws include the following:
While state negotiators including Senator Byron Sher (D-Palo Alto) deserve
credit for strengthening a weak deal, the deal leaves much work to be done.
Environmentalists vowed to step up efforts in achieving biologically meaningful,
permanent protection for the entire Headwaters Forest ecosystem. In addition,
activists vowed to demand strict enforcement of logging regulations, reform
of the state Board of Forestry and of the Forest Practice Rules, and an
end to all logging of old-growth forests in the state of California.
the allowance of logging of thousands of acres of ancient and residual
old-growth forest, which comprises habitat for many endangered species,
including the marbled murrelet, the northern spotted owl, the coho salmon,
and the steelhead trout;
loopholes in the watershed assessment process allowing the company to revise
stream buffers which would reduce protection after three years;
the allowance of logging on steep, unstable slopes, creating a serious
risk of landslides and damage to downstream human communities;
the substantial risk of extinction of the coho salmon in the region, according
to noted scientists, due to logging in sensitive riparian buffers;
the possible harvesting of the ancient tree Luna, occupied by Julia Butterfly
for over 14 months, and the surrounding steep hillside adjacent to the
landslide that wiped out 7 homes in Stafford in January, 1997;
the locking-in of these and other weak provisions through a "no surprises"
clause for the term of the 50-year Incidental Take Permit; and
the rewarding of a criminal corporation for its destructive behavior by
paying a grossly excessive amount of money, $480 million, for ancient groves
that should be off-limits to logging through existing laws.
Many environmental groups, including the Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters,
have long opposed the deal, fearing the deal's likely effect of causing
the extinction of the coho salmon in the region as well as the destruction
of thousands of acres of ancient and residual old-growth forest that provide
habitat for endangered species including the marbled murrelet and the northern
"Headwaters Forest is NOT saved by this deal, and we're not going away
until the entire Headwaters Forest ecosystem is permanently and irrevocably
protected," said Sam Johnston, an activist with the Bay Area Coalition
BACH / Ecology Center
2530 San Pablo Ave.
Berkeley CA 94702