Headwaters Forest Deal
The headline of Dan Hamburg’s July 13 commentary, “No Headwaters Deal May Be Best Option,” is the only option California legislators should negotiate--no deal.
It is outrageous that taxpayers are asked to give Pacific Lumber $130 million of state funds and $250 million in federal funds to acquire 7,500 acres of virgin old-growth redwoods of the Headwaters Forest when the federal government’s appraisal will not be completed until fall. There are 60,000 acres of six connecting forests in Pacific Lumber holdings that contain groves of ancient redwoods and old-growth Douglas fir. If Pacific Lumber gets a deal on the main forest (Headwaters), it will be free to destroy what remains of California’s unprotected redwoods. There are less than 4% left. I find it unconscionable that Gov. Pete Wilson and Sen. Dianne Feinstein are eager to complete this deal.
To imply that the state isn’t in a position to know what it is buying is ludicrous. The scientific study that has gone into the Headwaters package of preservation and protection is the most thorough ever. The just-published Sustained Yield Plan/Habitat Conservation Plan protects approximately 7,600 acres of virgin and residual old-growth and associated second-growth buffers as habitat for the marbled murrelet, northern spotted owl and fish and other aquatic species. It also calls for nearly 30,000 acres of stream-side buffers to protect aquatic habitat. All of this is on top of the 7,500 acres that are being acquired and will be permanently preserved in the Headwaters Reserve.
Hamburg calls for “peer review” when he knows full well that every agency with expertise was involved in developing the proposed protections. Over 40 distinguished scientists from the government and private sector participated. The SYP/HCP provides the most comprehensive environmental protections of any plan proposed for privately owned commercial timberlands. Pacific Lumber Co. is committed to be a leader in the development of sustainable forest ecosystem management for the 21st century.
JOHN A. CAMPBELL
President and CEO
Pacific Lumber Co.