EIR Suit Filed
Home ] Up ] EIR Comment Info ] CDF Loses Fee Appeal ] State Pays $200,000 ] Legislation Moves ] Scoping Alert ] Legislation Introduced ] PD Hatchet ] CDF Lectured ] EIR Ruled Invalid ] Press Democrat Bias ] Logging Stay Extended ] Logging Stayed ] Illegal Bids ] Illegal Bids Charged ] Brandon Gulch Protest ] Injunction Denied ] Brandon Gulch Sale ] [ EIR Suit Filed ] BOF MP Alert ] EIR Lawsuit ] First Lawsuit ] EIR 1 ] Resolution ]

 

Press Release
State Sued Over Jackson State Forest EIR

 

October 24, 2002        Press Release            For Immediate Release

Campaign:          Vince Taylor (707) 937-3001
Forests Forever: Paul Hughes (415) 974-36-36
Legal:                 Paul Carroll  (650) 322-5652


October 24, 2002, Ukiah. Citizen groups today challenged a key environmental document prepared by the California Department of Forestry (CDF) for Jackson State Forest. Until halted by a lawsuit last year, large-scale timber operations in Jackson State Forest had been generating $15 million of revenue for state forestry programs. In a March court settlement with the Campaign to Restore Jackson State Redwood Forest, CDF agreed not to resume logging in Jackson State Forest until a new management plan and Environmental Impact Report (EIR) were approved. The previous management plan was prepared and approved in 1983.

The new lawsuit, filed in Mendocino Superior Court by the Campaign to Restore Jackson State Redwood Forest and Forests Forever Foundation, is the latest blow to CDF’s efforts to continue its profitable but increasingly controversial management of Jackson State Forest.

Vince Taylor, spokesperson for the Campaign, said, "We regret the necessity for this suit, but CDF left us no choice. Jackson State is owned by the people of California, who have overwhelming told CDF they want their 50,000-acre redwood forest restored to old growth as sanctuary for threatened species. Experts filed 1000 pages detailing glaring deficiencies in the EIR and management plan. CDF ignored the public and experts. It adopted a management plan that would essentially clearcut half the forest and approved an EIR that is legally defective. Sadly, the public now has to go court to force CDF, our supposed public servant, to obey the law."

Paul Carroll, lawyer for the citizen groups, said, "The EIR for Jackson State fails to meet well-defined legal standards laid out by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and related court decisions. The absence of a comprehensive analysis of cumulative effects, a fundamental requirement of CEQA, is a fatal defect. The requirements of CEQA are not mere legalities, but reflect expert scientific knowledge. Without the information required by CEQA, there is no way for the public or decisionmakers to know the environmental consequences of the proposed management activities."

Paul Hughes, Executive Director of Forests Forever Foundation, explained the involvement of his San Francisco based organization in the lawsuit, "The 50,000 acres of Jackson Forest constitute an island of public land in the midst of a half-million acres of industrially owned, devastated redwood timberland. Jackson State Forest is the only possible large sanctuary between San Francisco and Humboldt County for salmon and other endangered redwood-related species. It could also be a recreation haven for the millions of people who live in the Bay Area and Central Valley. The state ought to be restoring this publicly owned treasure for its precious ecological and recreational values, not logging it like another big industrial company."

CDF has been working for over a year to develop and gain approval for a new management plan. In April 2001, it issued a draft management plan that called for continued large-scale commercial timber production in Jackson State. The draft plan was widely criticized for its heavy use of "even-age management" (commonly known as clearcutting), minimal protection for salmon streams, and planned cutting of the oldest second-growth stands in Mendocino County. In response to the criticism, CDF requested informal public comment, which many took to be a sign that CDF was planning to revise its plan to incorporate public concerns.

An approved EIR is necessary under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) before a management plan can be approved. In May 2002, CDF released a new draft management plan and a draft EIR. The new draft plan was essentially identical to the heavily criticized plan of 2001. The new plan and EIR drew an immediate and overwhelmingly critical flood of public comment. Of the 4,000 public comments, less than 50 supported the proposed CDF plan. The remainder strongly opposed CDF’s large-scale logging plans and most called for restoration of the publicly owned forest to old growth for recreation, habitat, education and research.

CDF also received a thousand pages of detailed expert comments on the EIR. The expert comments detailed numerous deficiencies, including lack of any meaningful cumulative impacts analysis, lack of comprehensive botanical surveys, inadequate protection of endangered species, inadequate presentation of data on timber, and errors in estimates of timber inventory, growth and allowable harvest levels.

CDF published its response to comments and certified its final EIR on September 26. A few days later, it issued its final management plan and took it to the Board of Forestry for approval. Few substantive changes were made between the drafts and final versions of either the EIR or management plan. The Board of Forestry is expected to approve the management plan at its November 5-6 meeting.

Background Information

Jackson Demonstration State Forest

Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF) is the formal name of Jackson State Forest. It is public land owned by the people of California and managed for their benefit by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF).

  • Jackson State is a 50,000-acre redwood forest containing more than 100 miles of perennial, salmon-bearing streams. Almost 10,000 acres haven’t been logged in almost 100 years.
  • It is located in Mendocino County, 4 hours from the Bay Area and Sacramento.
  • It lies between the tourist destinations of Mendocino and Fort Bragg on the Pacific Coast and reaches twenty miles eastward to the edges of the inland valleys near Highway 101.
  • CDF-approved logging in Jackson Forest has averaged 29 million board feet of lumber every year, enough to build a foot-wide path from Mendocino to Paris.

The Campaign to Restore Jackson State Forest

The Campaign to Restore Jackson State Forest was founded in January 2000 by concerned local citizens of Mendocino County. Its mission is to change the mission of Jackson State from large-scale commercial logging to restoration of the forest to old growth for recreation, habitat, research and education. Website: www.jacksonforest.com

Forests Forever Foundation

Forests Forever Foundation is the research and education arm of Forests Forever, Inc., a San Francisco citizen group devoted to protecting California’s forests. The Forests Forever Foundation was incorporated in 1998. The Foundation’s chief purpose is to educate Californians concerning forest issues in the state. Website: www.forestsforever.org

Previous Lawsuits

The initial suit filed in Mendocino County Superior Court in June 2000 charged that the state’s current logging in Jackson Demonstration State Forest was illegal. Regulations of the State Board of Forestry required that all logging in Jackson Forest be done under a "current management plan." The management plan was last revised 1983 and is now eight years past its 1992 revision deadline.

The Campaign’s case asked the court to stop all logging in JDSF until CDF prepares and implements a new management plan, Mendocino Superior Court number SCUKCVG '0083611, Campaign to Restore Jackson State Forest et. al. v. CDF and California Board of Forestry. It was filed June 12, 2000 and was scheduled to come to trial in the summer of 2001, but a settlement was reached prior to trial. See First Lawsuit

The case to invalidate the approval of the Timber Harvest Plan (THP) to log Brandon Gulch is Mendocino Superior Court number SCUKCVG '0084903, Campaign to Restore Jackson State Forest et. al. v. CDF. It was filed December 19, 2000 and has been consolidated with Case 83611.

A Temporary Restraining Order was issued on May 4 and a Preliminary Injunction on May 18, 2001. A settlement between the parties was filed with the Superior Court of Mendocino County on March 20, 2002.

Attorney

The attorney representing the Campaign and Forests Forever Foundation is Menlo Park lawyer Paul V. Carroll, (650) 322-5652.