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Jackson Forest Draft EIR Strongly Criticized
Expert Comments Detail Deficiencies Public Comments Top
Sacramento, March 1, 2006. The public comment period on the long delayed
revised Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for Jackson State Forest ended
on March 1, 2006
The EIR was subject to voluminous comment from experts coordinated by the Campaign to Restore
Jackson State Forests, the Sierra Club and other environmental groups.
State agencies also submitted comments. The comments document the numerous failures
of the EIR to adequately describe and compare the environmental impacts
of the proposed state logging plan and alternatives.
In his comment, Vince Taylor' showed conclusively that the inventory
estimates used in the management plan and EIR are
so greatly in error that the
management plan and environmental report are invalid.
members of the state senate wrote to urge the Board of Forestry to reject
the proposed management plan with its large-scale clearcutting.
Emails supporting management
reform of Jackson State Forest
topped 6,000. The public strongly expressed its desire to see Jackson
Forest managed for ecological, recreational, and research values, not
simply for timber production.
The outreach effort to
obtain broad public comment was a joint effort of the Campaign to Restore
Jackson State Forest, California Defenders of Wildlife, the Sierra Club,
and Forests Forever, and numerous other smaller groups and individuals.
The next step will be
for the staff of the Board of Forestry to review and respond to all of
the comments received. It may revise the document in light of the
comments. This will likely take at least several months, given the large
volume of detailed comments sent in by public experts and government
agencies. The Board will then consider which of the alternatives in the
plan to adopt.
If and when the
environmental report is approved by the Board of Forestry, the Campaign
will consider whether the legal deficiencies warrant filing a lawsuit.
Supports Progressive Management Plan
Ukiah, February 7, 2006. The Mendocino
County Board of Supervisors, for the first time ever, opposed a plan of
the state for Jackson State Redwood Forest. The Fort Bragg City Council
followed suit a week later.
The two most important
elected bodies in Mendocino County
refused to support the state's proposed plan, which includes massive
clearcutting, herbicide use, cutting of old growth trees, and neglect of
recreation. Instead the supervisors voted 3 to 2 and the Fort Bragg City
Council unanimously to support an alternative plan,
originally proposed by a diverse citizens advisory committee in 1998.
The plan supported by
the these bodies, Alternative D in the Draft Environmental Impact Report
for Jackson Forest, would ban clearcutting, place a moratorium on
herbicide use, ban all cutting of old growth, expand salmon stream
protection, and increase recreation opportunities.
Although Alternative D
does not mandate the emphasis on restoration and habitat in Alternative
E, the Campaign's preferred alternative, the frozen positions of the last
ten years have finally broken loose.
Now that the ice has
broken, there are opportunities for influencing how it
will come together again. Real progress now seems possible.
For more details of the supervisors meeting, see
State Releases New
Environmental Document for Jackson Forest
Sacramento, December 16 , 2005. After a
delay of two years, the state has released a new Environmental
Impact Report (EIR) for Jackson State Forest.
Public comments on the
EIR can be made to the Board of Forestry (BOF) until March 1, 2006 (a
later date than originally set).
Comments can be submitted via email as well as in writing.
Copies of the
report can be reviewed at various localities, and a CD can be obtained
free from the BOF. A meeting for receiving oral comments is scheduled for
Ukiah, February 2, 2006. The Mendocino Board of Supervisors will consider
their position on Tuesday, February 7, at 9:45 am. The BOF will also hear comments at its meeting
in Sacramento on February 9, 2006.
The new report is in
response to a 2003 court decision that found a previous version legally
deficient. The court ordered a continuation of a halt to all logging in
the forest. Logging has now been halted since 2001.
The new EIR is
overwhelmingly massive -- over1500 pages. In response to the court's
finding that it did not adequately cover important areas, the state
appears to have thrown in every possibly relevant study.
The cited studies are
not analyzed nor are their key finding summarized. Further, the report's
conclusions about environmental impact seem to be unrelated to the
findings of the studies. It finds that the proposed industrial logging of
the forest, including use of clearcut variations on 30% of the forest,
will have "no significant environmental impact".
The Campaign is working
to prepare a legal challenge to the EIR. If you support the Campaign's
goals, please help build our legal
defense fund. We need all the help we can get!
New Round of Environmental Impact
Review for Jackson Forest Initiated.
early February, 2004, the Board of Forestry
initiated a new round of environmental impact review for Jackson State
Forest by publishing a Notice of
Preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report (Draft EIR) on a
draft management plan for Jackson State Forest.
The new EIR round is in response to the ruling by the Mendocino Superior
Court in August 2003 that a previously prepared EIR was legally invalid
and that the the accompanying management plan for the forest was to be
rescinded. All logging in the forest was halted and is not expected to
be resumed until a revised EIR is approved.
A facilitated EIR scoping meeting
was held in Fort Bragg on February 27, 2004. Board of Forestry members
were present. The meeting featured 3 panels of speakers.
Presentations were made by five
supporters of Jackson Forest reform and restoration. Presentations
were also made by the California Department of Forestry (CDF), a County
Supervisor, the director of the Mendocino Woodlands Outdoor Center, a
country forestry advisor, and three representatives of the timber
No Logging in 2005
Revised EIR Currently Scheduled for
Public Release in October
Sacramento, September 26, 2005. All logging in Jackson State
Forest remains halted due to the invalidation of the forest's
Environmental Impact Report (EIR) in July, 2003, and a negotiated
settlement reached between the Campaign and the state in July 2004.
The state is still
working to complete revisions in the EIR to correct the deficiencies
found by the court. According to the California Department of Forestry
(CDF), the revisions are nearly completed.
CDF and Board of Forestry staff
have indicated that an administrative draft of the report will be
released unofficially to the public and Board members as soon as a full
draft is available.
The most recent
estimate of the release date for the administrative draft is around the
middle of October, 2005. The release date has slipped repeatedly since
the beginning of 2005.
after the unofficial release, the Board of Forestry will meet to approve
the draft for official release. The public will have 45 days after the
official release to submit comments.
No logging in Jackson
Forest can occur until 2006, because the EIR cannot possibly complete the
approval process prior to the end of the 2005 logging season.
Ironically, in summer
2004, the California Department of Forestry (CDF) strenuously
opposed then-pending legislation (SB 1648), arguing that its passage
would delay the resumption of logging in Jackson State Forest. The
legislation passed the legislature but was vetoed on the recommendation