Campaign to Restore Jackson State
Redwood Forest

244 N. Franklin Street
P.O. Box 1789
Fort Bragg, CA 95437
 

July 9, 2001

Andrea Tuttle, Director
California Department of Forestry
1416 9th Street
PO Box 944246
Sacramento, CA 94244-2460
Fax: (916) 653-4171

Re: July 12 Board of Forestry Agenda Items 7 & 8

Dear Ms. Tuttle:

I ask that you withdraw Items 7 & 8, placed at the request of your agency, from the Board of Forestry agenda of July 12.

From conversations that I have had with Ross Johnson of CDF, Maria Rae of the Resources Department, and Daniel Sendek of the Board of Forestry, I infer that the purpose of these agenda items is to circumvent the preliminary decision of the Superior Court of Mendocino of May 18, 2001 that, if finalized, would effectively halt new logging plans in Jackson State until a new management plan is approved.

Before proceeding in the attempt to circumvent the courtís decision, I ask you to reflect carefully on the courtís finding with respect to the balance of interim harm from restraining versus continuing timber harvest operations in Jackson State Forest. Iíve attached the full finding. In summary, the major findings were:

If the Board agrees to your proposed revisions in policies it will be lessening environmental protection for state forests. If you successfully circumvent the courtís decision and continue logging under the out-of-date management plan, you are likely to cause "substantial and possibly irreparable" environmental harm.

Director Tuttle, you are the head of the state agency responsible for ensuring that timber operations in the state conform to the laws that protect the natural resources and environment of our state. As the primary upholder and enforcer of the laws protecting the environmental values of private timberlands, how can you possibly give your consent to agency actions that attempt to circumvent a court order issued to protect the environmental and wildlife values of public timberlands? The proposed actions show a contempt for the court and the laws that is unseemly at best. Pursuing them will reinforce the widespread perception that CDF is an ethically bankrupt agency.

I pray that you halt this ill-conceived effort to circumvent a decision of a state court.

The effort to circumvent the court is apparently motivated by a desire to obtain revenues for the Forest Resources Improvement Fund (FRIF), which is funded primarily by cutting Jackson State Forest. The halt in logging in Jackson State has apparently created a funding crisis. Rather than letting the funding crisis dictate short-term measures, I propose that you see the crisis as an opportunity to develop a long-term solution to FRIF funding instability.

I will be writing separately to Mendocino Countyís state legislators, Virginia Strom-Martin and Wes Chesbro, asking them to work with you to introduce legislation that would fund FRIF from general revenues. This change in funding would solve the immediate funding problems of FRIF, eliminating the rationale for attempting to circumvent the court decision.

Funding FRIF from general revenues would place FRIF programs on an equal basis with other state programs, as they should be. It would prevent future funding problems arising from unpredictable drops in redwood prices and decreases in permitted logging caused by new environmental constraints.

Most importantly, funding FRIF from general revenues would eliminate the present incentives for CDF to maximize its net profits from Jackson State in order to meet funding commitments. These incentives have caused CDF to manage Jackson State Forest like a profit-driven corporation instead of a guardian of valuable public-trust resources. Removing these perverse incentives would allow CDF to develop a new management plan and prepare an Environmental Impact Review (EIR) in a deliberate and thorough manner, allowing adequate time for full public participation.

The Campaign to Restore Jackson State Redwood Forest pledges to use its full resources to support legislation to fund FRIF from general revenues. I hope that we can work together to use the present funding crisis as an opportunity to develop a long-term solution that will benefit all parties.

Sincerely,

 

 

Vince Taylor
Executive Director
CC: Virginia Strom-Martin, Wes Chesbro, Paul Carroll, Board of Forestry

Excerpt from the "Order For Preliminary Injunction" in Case No. CV 83611, May 18, 2001

B. Balance of Interim Harm: The primary interim injury to CDF is the loss of income from the two sales which may result in program cancellations and reductions.

CDF estimates a decrease in sale income funded activities of five percent for the balance of 2001 and of forty-two percent in 2002. (Declaration of Ross Johnson (d: 4/25/01) 3:14) There is no indication that the shortfall may not be covered from other funding sources. Counsel for both parties advised the court that the matter can be brought to full hearing within two to three months. Under these circumstances, it is unlikely that the interim harm sustained by CDF will by significant. (Emphasis added.)

On the other hand, the interim harm resulting from the harvesting operations could be substantial and, possibly irreparable. In addition to the cutting and removal of timber that will take over one hundred years to replace, harvest operations will certainly result in the construction of roads and layouts, the intrusion into wildlife habitat and the inevitable displacement of wildlife. If the harvesting operations are not conducted in accordance with a current, approved management plan there can be no assurance that these consequences have been properly assessed and evaluated as part of the comprehensive plan for the management of the Forest a productive entity. Once these activities have occurred, it is unlikely that the harvest areas could be returned to the pre-entry conditions. (Emphasis added.)

It is also apparent that CDF has known for years that its Management Plan for Jackson Demonstration State Forest was out of date and in need of comprehensive revision. Petitioners and others notified CDF of the deficiencies and requested that CDF curtail cutting activities until the approval of a current plan. CDF elected to proceed with cutting activities on the basis of an eighteen year old plan. Under these circumstances, the court finds that the interim harm that may occur if the injunction is not granted outweighs the interim harm that may occur if it is granted. (Emphasis added.)