Governor Ignores Public, Vetoes State Forest Reform Bill

News Release
Campaign to Restore Jackson State Forest

Contact: Vince Taylor - 707-937-3001
September 17, 2004
For immediate release

Governor Ignores Public, Vetoes State Forest Reform Bill

"It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment," Ansel Adams

September 17, 2004, Mendocino. In response to Governor Schwarzenegger's veto of SB 1648, a bill to revise the mission of state forests and the management of Jackson State Forest, the Campaign to Restore Jackson State Redwood Forest released the following statement:

Governor Schwarzenegger's veto of SB 1648 is a slap in the face of the public. He vetoed the bill despite its merits and the outpouring of nearly 4,000 letters asking his signature.

Governor Schwarzenegger's veto continues the long history of shutting the public out of the management of the largest publicly owned redwood forest between Humboldt County and San Francisco. Jackson State Forest is owned by the people of California. They care deeply about their redwood forest, but the state ignores their caring about its trees, its streams, its wildlife, and its spirit.

Governor Schwarzenegger's veto contradicts his claim, "I am an environmentalist." It shows that he has put the timber industry in control of state forestry policy. SB 1648 was a moderate, compromise bill, authored by the district senator, and acceptable to the local timber companies. The only organized opposition came from the California Department of Forestry (CDF), the agency in charge of Jackson Forest.

In vetoing SB 1648, Governor Schwarzenegger ignored the legislature and the public and took the advice of the forestry department. His veto message shows that he accepted CDF's falsehoods about its management record and distortions about the bill.

 It is ironic that Schwarzenegger took CDF's advice when it is CDF's mismanagement of Jackson Forest that has angered the public, turned the forest into a major source of public controversy, caused the courts to shut down its operations for four years, and necessitated SB 1648.

Governor Schwarzenegger's veto ensures that Jackson Forest will continue to be embroiled in public controversy and litigation. Although CDF undoubtedly promised timber interests and the governor that full-scale industrial logging would start up again next year, the state has numerous legal hurdles to clear before logging can begin again.

Governor Schwarzenegger's veto makes it highly uncertain when timber operations will resume in Jackson State Forest.

Until and unless the state recognizes the legitimate rights of the public to influence management of its redwood forest, the public will use every legal tool at its disposal to ensure that its rights are not trampled by an unresponsive state government.

This is a sad day for the forest, the people of California, and the Mendocino community. SB 1648 would have made the state pay attention to the multiple values of the forest, given the public a say in its management, guaranteed that the forest would get back into operation next year, and ended a controversy that has pitted neighbor against neighbor.

Vince Taylor, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Campaign to Restore Jackson State Redwood Forest