Brief History
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Brief History of Legal Developments and Their Implications
November 2003

Developments

  • A Campaign lawsuit filed in 2000 forced CDF to update its management plan and prepare and EIR for the management plan.
  • The EIR was prepared and certified by CDF in September, 2002. The management plan was approved by the Board of Forestry in November, 2002.
  • The Campaign filed to invalidate the EIR in October 2002.
  • In January 2003, CDF re-issued for comment slightly revised versions of the two timber harvest plans halted by the Campaign’s first lawsuit. These plans together would log 900 acres of unentered 100-year-old redwood stands in the heart of Jackson’s recreation area.
  • CDF put the two plans, Brandon Gulch and Camp 3, out to bid in April 2003.
  • The Campaign warned CDF in April and filed to enjoin the plans in May 2003.
  • The Mendocino Superior Court denied the request for a TRO and for a preliminary injunction. In denying the PI, the judge said he was "very likely" to find the EIR invalid on at least two grounds.
  • The PI was denied on June 10, 2003. Logging in Jackson State began on June 11.
  • The Campaign petitioned for an emergency writ to stay logging and reverse the denial of the injunction. The petition, filed with the California First District Court of Appeals, was granted two hours after its filing on the afternoon of June 17, 2003. Between June 11 and the halting of operations, about 1500 trees containing approximately 1 million board feet of lumber were cut.
  • The Mendocino Superior Court held its trial hearing on the Campaign’s challenge to the EIR on July 7, 2003. At that time, it scheduled another hearing on August 7 to allow the timber companies to present their arguments for harm suffered.
  • The Court of Appeals issued a supplemental order scheduling a hearing on the Campaign’s appeal on August 20, 2003 and extending its stay at least until its hearing. Subsequently, on July 14, 2003, CDF petitioned the appeals court to dissolve its stay or expedite the hearing from August 20. The appeals court denied these requests but granted a third request (which the Campaign did not oppose) to allow removal of the trees already cut.
  • On August 20, 2003, the Appeals Court told CDF to "get going" and "do the job right." It extended the stay until after a final judgment is issued by the Mendocino Superior Court, and it invited the Campaign's lawyer to appeal the judgment.
  • On September 4, 2003, The Mendocino Superior Court issued a Supplemental Ruling that 1) the court's rescission of the 2002 Management Plan leaves the pre-existing (1983) management plan in full force and effect, and therefore, 2) the court's previous order enjoining further logging (with the exception of Brandon Gulch and Camp 3 harvest plans) was not proper. Judge Henderson seemed to be giving permission to CDF for unrestrained logging. However, the Court of Appeals stay remained in effect.
  • On September 20, the Mendocino Superior Court issued its final judgment. It ordered "the Board of Forestry to set aside its November 6, 2002 decision to approve the updated Management Plan and to fully comply with the California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA" )..." At the hearing on the final judgment, CDF told the judge that it did not presently intend to approve any new harvest plans.
  • At its October meeting, the Board of Forestry rescinded its approval of the 2002 Management Plan. It took no action to re-certify the 1983 Management Plan that was superceded by the 2003 Management Plan.
  • On October 20, 2003, the Court of Appeals asked CDF to answer whether its current position is that logging of Brandon Gulch and Camp 3 is "presently permissible because the 1983 forest management plan is still operative?" The appeals court continued to keep careful watch over CDF and Jackson Forest.
  • On October 30, CDF told the Court of Appeals that it believed it could log these plans under the 1983 Management Plan. CDF also refused the Campaign's offer to accept the Mendocino Court ruling if it would agree in writing not to log the pending plans until a valid EIR was in place.
  • On November 1, the Campaign announced its intention to appeal the failure of the Mendocino Superior Court to enjoin all logging until a valid new EIR and Management Plan are in place.

Implications of Recent Events

  • To sum up the current situation (as of November 1, 2003): all logging in Jackson State Forest is halted by order of the court of appeals; the Mendocino Superior Court has invalidated the EIR for Jackson Forest; and the court of appeals has indicated it would rule on appeal that no logging can take place until a legally valid management plan and EIR have been certified. The Campaign plans to make this appeal in the near future.
  • The state of California is so desperate for revenue from Jackson State that CDF shed all pretenses of research and demonstration or concern for environmental or recreational values. It tried to log the oldest and ecologically most valuable stands in the forest. It closed a huge part of the central recreation area to all entry in the middle of the summer recreation season.
  • After a court found that its environmental document for the forest was "very likely" to be found legally invalid, the California Department of Forestry (CDF), which manages the forest, immediately rushed to cut as much timber as possible. CDF is the state agency charged with providing environmental protection for California forests. The irony is obvious and scandalous.
  • CDF has been criticized severely by many scientists for failure to enforce the environmental laws intended to protect California forests and watersheds. CDF's responses in the Campaign's legal effort shows in stark terms CDF's unwillingness to put environmental values above timber production even in a publicly owned forest.
  • CDF's actions over the last three years demonstrate the impossibility of meaningful reform within the current legislative mandate, which makes the first priority "maximum sustainable production of high quality timber products..."
  • The ability to defend Jackson State through legal action is near its end.
  • The values saved by three years of successful legal action will quickly be destroyed by CDF if legislation is not introduced next year to change the mandate for the forest.
  • Educating legislators about the importance of new legislation is now the Campaign's highest priority.