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EBMUD: EBMUB WINS COURT RULING AGAINST TIMBER HARVEST PLAN

 OAKLAND, Calif., Nov. 24 ~PRNewswire~ -- A peremptory writ of mandate that blocks timber cutting threatening the East Bay Municipal Utility District's Sierra water source has been granted by San Francisco Superior Court Judge Barbara J.R. Jones, EBMUD announced today.
 In her order overturning state approval of a Georgia Pacific timber cut near the Middle Fork of the Mokelumne River in Calaveras County, Judge Jones found that the California Department of Forestry (CDF) "prejudicially abused its discretion" in granting a timber harvest plan without considering the cumulative environmental impacts of future logging.
 Judge Jones cited case law which says, "Forestry (CDF) must consider each timber harvesting plan in its full environmental context and not in a vacuum ..." She said evidence presented in the record and at the trial "compels the conclusion that CDF failed to proceed in the manner prescribed by law."
 EBMUD had argued in its suit filed earlier this year that Georgia Pacific Lumber Company's timber-cutting practices had the potential to pollute the District's Sierra water source in the Mokelumne River Basin and cause injury to the environment.
 The water district filed suit in both Calaveras and San Francisco Superior Courts in January, alleging that increased erosion caused by Georgia Pacific's logging practices could pollute water with excess nutrients, turbidity and silting in the Mokelumne River and EBMUD's Pardee and Camanche Reservoirs. Pardee Reservoir stores the water supply for 1.2 million East Bay residents.
 The Calaveras County suit was against the California Department of Forestry (CDF) as the permitting agency and attacked a particular timber harvest plan.
 A companion suit in San Francisco Superior Court was filed against the California Board of Forestry, challenging its regulations as ineffective in analyzing cumulative impacts of logging and thus violating the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The two cases have been coordinated and are both being heard in San Francisco Superior Court. The Board of Forestry case will go to trial in January.
 The writ of mandate will block the state from allowing Georgia Pacific to proceed with its proposed "North Forest Creek" timber harvest until proper analyses have been completed.
 The decision supports arguments by EBMUD special counsel Thomas Lippe that CDF's review of timber harvest plans in the Mokelumne Basin inadequately evaluates the watershed impacts of logging. EBMUD has been particularly concerned by the greatly accelerated harvest rate pursued by Georgia Pacific in recent years.
 Georgia Pacific owns 121,000 acres in El Dorado, Calaveras and Amador counties. About 81,000 acres are within the Mokelumne River basin that serves EBMUD, comprising about 25 percent of that watershed.
 In the past four years, timber harvesting in the Mokelumne Basin has been greatly accelerated to several times the rate the district believes is required to ensure a sustained yield. (Sustained yield is the amount of harvesting that can be accomplished with the forest continually regenerating.)
 If this harvest rate continues unabated, Georgia Pacific's Mokelumne basin holdings could be fully harvested within the next few years, creating a serious threat of erosion, the water district said.
 Despite extensive EBMUD documentation describing cumulative impacts, the Department of Forestry approved 21 timber harvest plans in the Mokelumne Basin last year encompassing 12,432 acres of Georgia Pacific land. The 815-acre North Forest Creek plan, which EBMUD challenged, was approved Dec. 3, despite EBMUD's request for denial. This plan is of particular concern because Forest Creek already is substantially damaged by siltation resulting from previous logging in the vicinity.
 -0- 11~24~92
 ~CONTACT: Gayle Montgomery of EBMUD, 510-287-0141, or 510-689-2327 (home)~


CO: East Bay Municipal Utility District; California Department of
 Forestry; Georgia Pacific ST: California IN: SU:


SG-TM -- SF007 -- 1315 11~24~92 19:01 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 24, 1992
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