Julia Butterfly at Old Growth Protest
ROBERT DURELL / Los Angeles Times
Jan 12, 2000, Sacramento. SRBG activists unfurl our magnificent banner behind a radiant Julia Butterfly at the Board of Forestry hearing and rally demanding that Gray Davis keep his campaign promise to ban old-growth logging. Since he took office a year ago, he has instead accepted at least $125,000 from the timber industry and much more from timber-related trade unions, agri-business, and developers.

Los Angeles Times
Thursday, January 13, 2000 - www.latimes.com

Ex-Tree Dweller Embarks on Down-to-Earth Logging Battle

Environment: Woman who spent two years sitting in a redwood appears at state Capitol to ask lawmakers to impose ban on cutting of California's oldest trees.


ROBERT DURELL / Los Angeles Times
Environmental activists hold up signs on the steps of the state Capitol
in Sacramento.
SACRAMENTO - Julia "Butterfly" Hill, who spent two years in an ancient redwood to protest logging practices, tried her hand at mainstream tactics Wednesday, urging the state forestry board to impose an immediate ban on the cutting of California's oldest trees.

Hill, 25, was joined by scores of other environmentalists pressing for an emergency rule protecting oldgrowth trees, whose dense canopy is critical to spawning salmon and other sensitive species.

State officials said the proposed emergency ban could apply to as many as 23 million trees, or 31% of the total timber volume on private land in California. The timber's estimated value is $31 billion.

Meeting before a huge, overflow crowd, the forestry board heard testimony from a long parade of speakers. But the star witness - at least in emotional terms - was Hill, who achieved almost mythic status among environmentalists for her marathon tree-sit in Humboldt County.

"This is all about protecting the trees, including the one I lived in, which was more than 1,000 years old," said Hill, clutching a plastic bag of mud she said she collected from a hill side that eroded after removal of a tree.

"This is an emergency," she added later. "That's why all these people came to Sacramento from their beloved forests and family life."

To order a ban on old-growth logging, the nine-member Board of Forestry would have to conclude that ongoing harvesting represents a threat to "public peace, health and safety or general welfare."

The groups pressing for action cited a recent logging job near Garberville as evidence of a need for an emergency ban. Under an exemption from harvesting rules, crews clearing forest for a PG&E power line cut down old-growth trees. The work was stopped after environmentalists alerted authorities.

Resources Secretary Mary Nichols, who met with the protesters on Tuesday, opposes an emergency ban but favors tighter environmental review for any logging that involved old-growth stands, a spokesman said.

She also has ordered the Department of Forestry to undertake an inventory of ancient trees and develop recommendations for their protection.

The daughter of an itinerant preacher, Hill was an unemployed drifter when she joined the forest protest movement that flared anew after Maxxam Corp. bought Pacific Lumber and began clearcutting large tracts of trees. During her vigil, she lived on a platform slung between branches 150 feet above the earth.

She descended from the tree - which she dubbed Luna - in December after negotiating a compromise with Pacific Lumber.

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