Ukiah Courthouse Demo

Mendocino County Environmentalist
August 25, 1999
Mary Bull's Boycott-the-Gap Newsletter

RJ photo
MARY BULL in front of Ukiah Courthouse.
Forest Defenders Across the Nation!

A lot happened in early August. For example, not one but TWO FSC certifiers denied the Fishers of Gap Inc. forest certification! We also found out that the corporations, including the timber co's, have bought and paid for Cal Governor Gray Davis for years in advance (six months into his first year as governor, Davis has amassed a war chest of campaign contributions of some $6 million for FUTURE campaignsnow ain't that comforting to the public?!) - but no matter, because the tides are definitely turning: We are beginning to realize that WE HAVE THE POWER to reclaim our government, to reclaim our society, and to reclaim our Earth from the big-money corporate despoilers. Get Ready.

Fishers Fail Certification Bid

For many months now, the Mendocino Redwood Company - a logging investment of the Fisher family of the Gap clothing store empire - has been touting its "pursuit" of "green" label certification by the Forest Stewardship Council as evidence that its wood products have been sustainably logged and are consumer-worthy. On August 6, in an unusual public statement, the two northern California members of the Forest Stewardship Council - Scientific Certification Systems in Point Richmond, and the Institute for Sustainable Forestry/Smartwood in Arcata and Willits - turned down the Fishers' logging company application for certification, and further stated that " ... we have asked MRC [Mendocino Redwood Company] to minimize public statements pertaining to Its long-term pursuit of FSC-endorsed certification."

Watershed groups in Mendocino County - where the Fishers have been logging 220,000 acres of cutover forest lands formerly owned by Louisiana Pacific - had criticized MRC in "certification" meetings for using the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) name in press interviews and in promotional letters to thousands of petition signers.

"The Fishers' logging company has been using its 'pursuit' of green label certification as 'cover' for extensive clearcutting, herbicide use and logging of the very last old growth, since February, before they even applied for 'certification,'" said Mary Pjerrou of the Redwood Coast Watersheds Alliance. "We provided the certifiers with the facts. This company is not 'green.'"

Former Mendocino County Supervisor and co-chair of the Save The Redwoods/Boycott The Gap Norman de Vail stated that he was not surprised by the fraudulent public relations. "The public has been lied to for many years about the state of these forests. Louisiana Pacific lied to us. The state of California lied to us. Now the Fishers' logging company is lying to us. The question is: When is the state going to begin enforcing the Forest Practice Act?"

De Val] pointed out that the Forest Practice Act requires Maximum sustained production of high quality timber products" and the protection of other forest resources such as wildlife and fish. "Go look at their log decks!" de Vail said. "Sixteen inch diameter trees is not high quality timber. Then go look at Noyo harbor. The salmon fishing fleet is gone. Here is the true price of this lousy wood - extinction of our fisheries, loss of wildlife, our rivers full of mud. There can be no 'green' label on species extinction!"

Pjerrou discussed. the tables of Mendocino Redwood Company Timber Harvest Plans (THPs) that/the Redwood Coast Watersheds Alliance provided to the certifying groups, showing that MRC is stockpiling logging plans at a rate onethird greater than the previous owner Louisiana Pacific, one of the most notorious forest liquidators in northern California.

"This company is not only not logging sustainably, it is right now engaged in taking every last stick of merchantable timber off of these lands - including the very last of the old growth trees," Pjerrou stated.

Mary Bull, of the Save the Redwoods/Boycott the Gap Campaign, strongly objected to the secret processes of the wood certification groups, given Fisher family involvement with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which helped to develop the Forest Stewardship Council, the umbrella groups for wood certifiers. 'The NRDC quotes Bob Fisher of the Gap in their brochure on the Forest Stewardship Council," Bull pointed out. "Disclosure of the Fishers' financial contributions to these wood certification groups should have been a condition of their logging company's application for certification. Another condition should have been their cessation of clearcutting and other devastating forest practices."

GAP Links to the FSC:

Bob Fisher, V-P of the Gap and an investor in the Mendocino Redwood Company sits on the board of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The NRDC was instrumental in creating the Forest Stewardship Council, and has a rep on the FSC board.

FSC is the umbrella group for Scientific Certification Systems and Smartwood/ISF (the Institute for Sustainable Forestry).

Smartwood is headquartered in Richmond, Vermont - and is a subumbrella for ISF. The NRDC publishes an elaborate brochure about the Forest Stewardship Council which has a prominent quote in it, from none other than Bob Fisher (who says the Gap will do its part for certification by using certified wood in Gap stores "where possible"). It also sports a photo of the Interior of a Banana Republic store.

In other words, the Fishers' logging company is "pursuing" forest certification from forest certifiers that Bob Fisher helped to create, that he contributed (or contributes) money to, and that he retains some measure of control over, interlocking boards of directors. The certified wood movement has some good and honest people working in it, who have devoted years of their lives to improving forest practices. Their work was almost discredited and destroyed by the Fishers' corrupt use of these organizations to further their plans in Mendocino County (deforestation, real estate speculation-vineyards and subdivisions).

Environmentalists fear that the Fishers' logging company will merely reapply for "certification," while continuing their liquidation logging program. The wood certifying groups accept all applications, and keep all certification evaluation documents proprietary, with no public access. The Mendocino Redwood Company is operating without a state-approved "Sustained Yield" Plan. Its predecessor, Louisiana Pacific, was required by the California Board of Forestry to submit a "Sustained Yield" Plan in the mid-1990s, after the "liquidation logging" crisis of the early 1990s, but failed to get their SYP approved before selling out of the redwood business to the Fisher family in 1998.

Appellate Court Order to Stop Logging Elk Creek!

On Friday, July 30, we got the GREAT NEWS that in response to our appeal, the Appellate Court ordered Redwood Empire to stop logging their 266 plan in Elk Creek until the Court rules on the case. You might recall that 266 in combo with the Fishers' 445 (also in litigation) constitute OVER ONE THOUSAND acres of high-impact logging-416 of them a MASSIVE CLEARCUT compliments of the Fisher family - all near a very fragile coho fishery ("the Coho 10"), the only known coho fishery in a 150 sq. mile region.

Mendocino Forest Defenders whipped into action early Saturday, Sunday, and Monday mornings at the four main entrances to the logging site to turn away fallers who had not been informed of the court order. Trees would have fallen in violation of the order had it not been for these activists!



Our Lawsuits See the Hallowed Halls of Justice!

One of the more telling aspects of the lawsuit story is the legal bullying and pettiness perpetrated by the obnoxious, anti-environment law firm of Rawles, Hinckle, Carter, Behnke & Oglesby, in Ukiah, whom MRC has hired to get their worst logging plans approved. Attorneys for this firm have access to enormous financial and political resources, not to mention an office full of attorneys, paralegals, and secretariesto think up petty, harassing legal motions. We have few resources and mostly volunteer legal help-and have to fight very hard for every inch of legal ground. The injustice of this system is putrid. The harm to the environment-in lack of' legal protection based on existing law is enormous.

Watershed groups can only file lawsuits on a handful of logging plans (the very worst of the lot) --- compared to the many hundreds of logging plans that CDF approves every year. Here is an update on our four recent THP lawsuits--and a few examples of legal harassment:

1. The 4-THP logging plan lawsuit originally filed in April 1998, on the big bad MRC clearcut (606 acres) in Elk Creek, with the regional coho salmon at risk, a smaller clearcut (96 acres) in Greenwood Creek, with a town water supply at risk, and the two, very old (1989) "Enchanted Meadow" logging plans that the Albion community has been fighting for ten years. Headed for trial on October 1.

Last year, MRC's predecessor L-P signed a "stipulated injunction"-an agreement not to log these four plans until after the trial. MRC amended itself into this lawsuit in July 1998, and since then has tried several times to break the stipulated injunction-most recently in connection with their request to remove about six truckloads of downed timber from the "Enchanted Meadow" plan. They filed a motion with the court-and lo and behold, the motion did not confine Itself to removing the downed timber; instead it presented arguments to remove the whole injunction-a month before the trial! They apparently expected a compliant judge to grant them whatever they wished. Their argument for getting rid of the injunction was the long delay in going to trial--delays caused entirely by them! This meritless and harassing motion cost watershed groups $2000 and several weeks of work.

2. The THP 266 logging plan lawsuit-Roger Burch/Redwood Empire402 more acres of logging in Elk Creek, with its fragile coho salmon fishery at risk. Same law firm (Rawles, Hinkle, et al). Last week, their attorney filed a motion to dismiss the entire lawsuit in Superior Court--despite an Appellate Court order stopping all logging activities until further order of the Appellate Court-on the grounds that our attorney had failed to meet a 90-day deadline to schedule the trial phase in Superior Court. It turns out he is dead wrong about this deadline-and he with at least 15 years experience with the law and the entire Carter law firm as support. More than a dozen pages of wrongful motion, berating us, and demanding that the Court sanction US! We HAVE to answer such a motion, show up in court for it, and prepare an appeal-because we have no confidence in getting even simple justice in this court system.

3. THP 315 logging plan lawsuit-MRC old-growth logging plan in Greenwood Creek. The judge still has the matter of a preliminary injunction under submission. We have to call the court every day-because several months ago, in this courthouse, we were granted a temporary restraining order by a visiting judge on Friday and could not find out what the decision was, despite repeated inquiries, until the following Monday In the late afternoon! We feel that if a preliminary injunction is denied, we might not know about it before they start cutting the old growth, and will lose some of these magnificent old trees during the effort to appeal the matter to a higher court.

4. A fourth lawsuit by another group, the Western Watershed Alliance in Sonoma County, lost their preliminary injunction fight in Superior Court, on an MRC plan in Willow Creek-a logging plan with some 60 stream crossings in a stream so impacted by logging that it can barely support fish. The state court system is callous toward the horrendous impacts of logging, and is just plain wrong about the law. The rules about cumulative effects assessment (f.i., past and potential impacts on fish) are very clear, and are routinely violated. ... Our love and regard to the noble people fighting this dreadful logging plan (and yet another one in the works by MRC)!

5. THP 1-98-350. Kaisen Gulch. Albion River. ARWPA won their TRO on this MRC plan! THREE CHEERS FOR LINDA PERKINS & THE ALBION NATION!!! Injunction hearing currently scheduled for August 20, Ukiah. Call 707-937-0903 for more info!

"Houston Principles": Labor and Enviros Formally Unite!

As you know, labor, human rights activists, and environmentalists have united to stop the Fisher family from destroying the redwood ecosystem in Mendocino County and to stop their clothing empire, Gap, Inc., from exploitIng needleworkers around the world. But prior to this, steelworkers and Headwaters activists formed an historic union to stop Charles Hurwitz and Maxxam Corp. from destroying the redwood ecosystem in Humboldt County and shutting out steelworkers at Kaiser Aluminum in Washington state.

This union of labor and enviros went a step further recently when United Steelworkers of America and environmentalists established the 'Houston Principles of the Alliance for Sustainable Jobs and the Environment." The purpose of the Houston Principles is to reaffirm publicly the commitment of both the labor and environmental movements to "forge a partnership that protects people and the planet."

Over 150 environmental and labor groups have endorsed the "Houston Principles," including Save the Redwoods/Boycott the Gap Campaign!

Other Contacts/Information Sources:

- Mary Pjerrou, Redwood Coast Watersheds Alliance 707-877-3405

- Norman de Vall, Save The Redwoods/Boycott The Gap 707-877-3551

- Redwood Mary (Mary Rose Kaczorowski), Plight of the Redwoods Tour

- Mary Bull, Save the Redwoods/ Boycott the Gap Campaign 415-731-7924

For questions and comments please e-mail us!

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