|August 5, 2003
For Immediate Release
Contact: Vince Taylor, Ph.D.
Paul Carroll (legal) (650) 322-5652
Court Rules Jackson State Forest Environmental Report Invalid
New Management Plan Revoked and Logging Halted
July 30, Ukiah. The Mendocino Superior Court today upheld a challenge
to the environmental report for Jackson State Redwood Forest. Judge
Richard Henderson, ruling on a suit brought by the Campaign to Restore
Jackson State Redwood Forest and Forests Forever, ruled in the favor on
three fundamental issues, including failure to adequately consider the
regional setting and to analyze cumulative impacts of proposed timber
operations. He invalidated the EIR and directed the Board of Forestry to
rescind its approval of the management plan. He also enjoined further
timber operations, but with some ambiguity about the pending plans in
Brandon Gulch and Camp 3.
At a minimum, the deficiencies in the Environmental Impact Report (EIR)
must be corrected, the revised EIR submitted for public comment, the
comments responded to, and the revised Final EIR approved by the Board of
Forestry (rather than by CDF as was the EIR invalidated by the court).
Henderson found very significant deficiencies in the treatment of both the
regional setting of Jackson State and analysis of cumulative impacts.
Correcting these deficiencies will be a major task and will not quickly
The implications of the decision are far broader and more profound than
the requirements to correct the deficiencies in the EIR. Judge Henderson
strongly condemned CDF for its complete disregard of "the clear
legislative directives" requiring consideration of the regional setting
and cumulative impacts. He said that CDF failed to "prepare an EIR that
complies with the minimal statutory requirements," and "CDF ignored the
relatively clear guidelines and conducted a deficient environmental
Judge Henderson addressed the financial harm that his decision would
bring to owners and workers in coastal timber operations – and he placed
blame squarely on CDF:
"…[T]he failure of CDF to prepare and EIR that complies with the
minimal statutory standards leaves me with no alternative but to
direct CDF and the Board to rescind the approval of the EIR. CDF and
the Board had every reason to believe that their approval of the
updated Management Plan would be subjected to close judicial scrutiny.
With that in mind, CDF and Board should have scrupulously followed the
procedures adopted by the legislature to minimize the risk of an
inevitable court challenge and the potential economic hardship on the
management of the JDSF and on the local timber industry. Instead, CDF
virtually ignored the relatively clear guidelines and conducted a
deficient environmental review that will inevitably further delay
logging activities in the Jackson Demonstration State Forest."
Dr. Vince Taylor, Executive Director of the Campaign to Restore Jackson
State Redwood Forest, said, "Taken as a whole, Judge Henderson’s decision
amounts to a strong indictment of CDF’s disregard for the public, the
environment, and the law. The state administration and legislation cannot
ignore this criticism, which comes not from an environmental organization,
but from a judge who has demonstrated a strong concern for the well-being
of the timber industry.
CDF is charged with enforcing the environmental laws designed to
protect the state’s forest resources. Its failure to perform an even
minimally adequate environmental review of its own timber operations is
scandalous. It raises fundamental questions about CDF’s ability and desire
to enforce forestry environmental laws as well as its fitness to manage
the state forests."
The Court ruling summary and disposition are at:
Previous press releases, legal briefs and background on this issue are