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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

More Reorganization Concerns(MRCs)

I attended the Wharfinger meeting for MRC yesterday(Tuesday) along with at least a dozen or so concerned "eviromentalists"
(that's what we were refferred to as by Wills and other unsecured creditors). After sitting through their presentation, I asked them what their policy was on old growth. Sandy Dean did most of the talking, along with Steve Wills, MRC forester Mike, and the Marathon suit and tie guy. Sandy repeated verbatim what is stated on the MRC site, that they have a OG policy down to every tree. I asked him later if that means that they down every tree, and that the policy was vague. I stated that Option A (MRC's stated plan for the FSC certification)allows the removal of Old Growth trees in un-entered stands, Old Growth groves less than 20 acres in size, groves containing less than 6 OG trees p/acre or 30 per 20 acres, or trees that are not displaying OG characteristics. Sandy restated that their policy is what it says on the MRC site. I asked him again, more directly, "Will MRC log OG trees in Humboldt county?" He was "stumped" and moved on to the next question.

After listening to Steve Wills attack us(well, mostly Verbena) about the MRC being the best option for Humboldt, and seeing EPIC and Freshwater Creek Alliance(or whatever they call themselves now) smiling and nodding at the presentation, I couldn't handle it anymore. I walked outside and persuaded the photographer(hopefully) for a local media agency to come out to Fern Gully to shoot the longest running tree-sit in history(6 years in October). He was unaware of any tree-sits currently, but very interested and surprised that it hasn’t been covered by the local media. I hope the local mainstream media picks it up. I also hope that the OG questions and interrogations that took place between Sandy and I will hopefully be mentioned in the local media.

I returned to the safety of the Wharfinger's indoors(to escape the heavy metals being blown across Humboldt Bay from the Samoa pulp mill) to find everyone pretty much smiling and nodding at the presentation. CDF spokeswoman for the North Coast Ima Sellout stated that the best thing to happen to Mendo was the MRC, and that they have done a great job in restoring their lands. The meeting ended and the environmentalists gathered around the suits for a more direct Q and A session.

Sandy clarified what he could not clarify in the public Q and A session in regards to MRC's Old Growth policy. Sandy stated that they do not cut OG trees, and that to his knowledge, only two OG trees have been removed from Mendo's forests(hmm, I wonder why he couldn't say this earlier in front of the audience). Sandy also stated that MRC's Old Growth policy supersedes Option A and that any trees that display OG characteristics(48" diameter or greater, pockets of ferns and canopy ecosystems, etc, etc) are considered OG and that the only reasons that they could be removed from their lands is (1) Safety (2) Road Construction (3) Accidentally. Sandy went on to say that the two OG trees that were accidentally cut, to his knowledge, are still in the woods and their policy is to leave OG trees that were accidentally fallen where they lie, in the woods.

Then it gets weird, probably a first for Forest Defenders everywhere, or at least in here in Humboldt. We were invited to come see their progress, personally by Sandy, and that Mike the forester would give us a tour. But not just any tour. Sandy said to pick any place we want to go on their lands and that Mike would take us. I'm going to be looking for big stumps, especially ones that are over 48" and fresh cut.


I remain skeptical. Yet, I cannot help to have hope for MRC to be the least of the evils to take over PL. They claim to be the best option, and I believe them. Sandy does a great job at coming accross as being sincere or honest(I was in sales for a while too). That does not mean that we will be finished in this timber war. We don't plan on closing down any actions. And we won't stop until all of our demands are met: No Old Growth Logging, No Clear cutting, No Steep Slope Logging and No Herbicide use. So far, MRC has promised not to cut Old Growth. Let's see if they keep their promise. Then we can work on the rest of our demands. Maybe even go after SPI. The back side of Mt. Shasta is about to be annihilated. PL may be on the outs, but we should never pander or especially compromise to corporate interests, no matter how greenwashed they are.

I feel bad for giving Sandy such a hard time and pressing him for an answer on Old Growth. But it is an issue that needs to be addressed and I feel that a public statement such as "MRC will not cut Old Growth" would have put a lot of hearts, minds, and souls at ease. This is an emotional issue, considering the history here and our love for trees.

Sandy is a nice guy, suit and tie, let's see if it is all a big lie.

The least of two or three evils is still what it is.


Jeff Muskrat
Humboldt Forest Defense

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