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EBMUD CHARGES USFS-APPROVED TIMBER SALE HARMS WATERSHED

 OAKLAND, Calif., April 26 /PRNewswire/ -- An appeal filed by the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) protests U.S. Forest Service (USFS) approval of a 250-acre sale of timber on public lands in the Mokelumne River watershed, EBMUD said today.
 EBMUD charged that USFS failed to adequately assess how harvesting the so-called "Yellow Bee" area in the Stanislaus National Forest, in combination with harm already caused by past and planned timber harvests, would further degrade local natural resources and downstream water quality.
 The EBMUD appeal, filed with the USFS in San Francisco on April 16, noted that when approving the sale the forest service failed to consider other timber harvest plans scheduled by Georgia Pacific Corp. near the Yellow Bee area.
 EBMUD charged that excessive timber harvesting in the Mokelumne River Basin can increase siltation and nutrient loads in the river, thus threatening water quality needed to sustain aquatic life downstream. Overharvesting also threatens water quality in EBMUD's downstream Pardee and Camanche reservoirs.
 EBMUD asked the USFS to halt the sale until a full assessment of impacts on downstream waters is completed. The USFS has 100 days to respond to EBMUD's appeal.
 The appeal comes on the heels of two previous District lawsuits seeking to stop excessive timber harvesting throughout the Mokelumne River Watershed Basin.
 In January 1992, EBMUD filed suit against the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF), seeking specifically to stop Georgia Pacific's 815-acre North Forest Creek timber harvest plan. A peremptory writ of mandate issued in November 1992 by San Francisco Superior Court Judge Barbara Jones ordered a halt to the North Forest Creek harvest until issues under the California Environmental Quality act (CEQA) were resolved. The court found that the California Department of Forestry "prejudicially abused its discretion in granting approval of the timber harvest plan without considering the cumulative environmental impacts of future logging.
 Also in January 1992, EBMUD filed a companion suit in San Francisco Superior Court against the California Board of Forestry, challenging its regulations as ineffective in analyzing the cumulative watershed impacts of timber harvesting, in violation of CEQA. Trial in this broader lawsuit was concluded in March 1993, and a decision is expected in late May.
 -0- 4/26/93
 /CONTACT: Annette Oliveira of EBMUD, 510-287-0143/


CO: East Bay Municipal Utility District; U.S. Forest Service ST: California IN: ENV SU: EXE

GT-SG -- SF012 -- 0843 04/26/93 15:09 EDT
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Date:Apr 26, 1993
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