History of Legal Developments and Their Implications
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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,
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
- 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
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
- 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