Printer Friendly

EBMUD GOES TO COURT ON STATE TIMBER HARVEST RULES

 OAKLAND, Calif., Feb. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Trial begins tomorrow in a lawsuit brought by East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) challenging the California Board of Forestry's guidelines for timber harvesting in the water district's Mokelumne River Watershed Basin, EBMUD said today.
 EBMUD sued the board in early 1992, maintaining that the state's procedures for granting timber harvest plans do not adequately consider the cumulative effects on the watershed or the river from past or future timber harvest plans in the same area.
 The water district is especially concerned about protecting the Mokelumne River basin above Pardee Reservoir east of Lodi -- the drinking water supply for 1.2 million East Bay residents.
 At the same time it sued the forestry board, EBMUD sued the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF) to stop a specific timber harvest plan the department had approved for the Georgia Pacific Lumber Co. near the Middle Fork of the Mokelumne River in Calaveras County.
 That suit resulted in a preemptory writ of mandate being issued last November that blocked Georgia Pacific from commencing that particular harvest.
 In her order overturning state approval of the Georgia Pacific timber cut, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Barbara J.R. 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 past and future logging.
 In the new trial against the forestry board, which makes the rules for the Department of Forestry, EBMUD will argue that the state's regulations are inadequate in the way they analyze impacts of harvest plans. A declaratory judgment and injunctive relief are being sought.
 EBMUD's board of directors noted that runoff from heavily logged areas not only can be detrimental to water supplied to the East Bay, but also may be harmful to the Mokelumne River fisheries and to water quality in Pardee and Camanche reservoirs. Nutrients washed from the land can cause algae blooms and other reservoir changes that can consume oxygen and kill fish.
 EBMUD Board President Katherine McKenney said, "Heavy timber harvesting above the sustainable yield of the forest can substantially harm the ongoing timber industry in Amador and Calaveras counties. Excessive harvesting of the Georgia Pacific land could have an adverse impact on the long-term productivity of the forest and on jobs in the foothill communities."
 "If the harvest rate of the recent past continued unabated," McKenney added, "Georgia Pacific's Mokelumne basin holdings would be fully harvested within the next few years, creating a serious threat of erosion and a permanent loss of jobs."
 EBMUD argued in its first lawsuit that Georgia Pacific's timber- cutting practices could pollute water with excess nutrients, turbidity and silting in the Mokelumne River and EBMUD's Pardee and Camanche reservoirs.
 The companion suit in San Francisco Superior Court challenges the Board of Forestry's regulations as ineffective in analyzing cumulative impacts of logging and thus violating the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
 After the writ of mandate was issued, Georgia Pacific changed and resubmitted the "North Forest Creek" timber harvest plan that EBMUD had challenged, but the Department of Forestry rejected it as still inadequate.
 The earlier 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 Watershed Basin that serves EBMUD, comprising about 25 percent of that watershed.
 Beginning about five years ago, timber harvesting in the Mokelumne Basin was greatly accelerated to several times the rate the district believes is required to ensure sustainable forestry. (Sustainable forestry is the amount of harvesting that can be continually accomplished with the forest regenerating.)
 Director Andrew Cohen noted that although Georgia Pacific has reduced its harvest rate and the state has improved its review of timber harvest plans since EBMUD's lawsuits were filed, the basic issues have still not been addressed. "State law requires the Department of Forestry to assess cumulative impacts," said Cohen. "Since purchasing this land, Georgia Pacific has increased the rate of logging to four or five times the sustainable yield. If the Department of Forestry can't find cumulative impacts here, then it's not doing its job."
 Despite extensive EBMUD documentation describing cumulative impacts and requesting plan denials, the Department of Forestry approved 21 timber harvest plans in the Mokelumne Basin in 1991, encompassing 12,432 acres and 18 plans in 1992 encompassing 8,240 acres.
 -0- 2/1/93
 /CONTACT: Gayle Montgomery of EBMUD, 510-287-0141 or home, 510-689-2327/


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


SG-GT -- SF010 -- 1612 02/01/93 20:24 EST
COPYRIGHT 1993 PR Newswire Association LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 1, 1993
Words:813
Previous Article:GMHE ADOPTS NEW RETIREMENT BENEFITS ACCOUNTING STANDARD
Next Article:1993 EXPECTED TO BE ROLLER COASTER YEAR FOR ECONOMY, DESPITE STRONG FOURTH QUARTER
Topics:


Related Articles
GOVERNOR'S OFFICE: TIMBER EXPORT RESTRICTIONS SAVING JOBS, STABILIZING STATE FOREST-PRODUCTS INDUSTRY DURING PERIOD OF RAPID CHANGE
GOV. GARDNER URGES JUDGE DWYER NOT TO ENJOIN FEDERAL TIMBER SALES; SAYS SURVIVAL OF RURAL FOREST PRODUCTS INDUSTRY AT STAKE
AMERICAN FOREST RESOURCE ALLIANCE ISSUES STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO TODAY'S ACTION BY HOUSE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE
PLUM CREEK TIMBER CO., L.P. ANNOUNCES DECREASE IN TIMBER HARVEST AS RESULT OF CONTINUING STRONG FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE
EBMUD: EBMUB WINS COURT RULING AGAINST TIMBER HARVEST PLAN
AMERICAN FOREST & PAPER ASSOCIATION ISSUES STATEMENT
DUFF & PHELPS: SCOTIA PACIFIC HOLDING COMPANY $385 MILLION 7.95 PERCENT FIXED RATE TIMBER COLLATERALIZED NOTES DUE 2015 RATED 'A'
EBMUD CHARGES USFS-APPROVED TIMBER SALE HARMS WATERSHED
Wielding a finely crafted legal scalpel: why courts did not cause the decline of the Pacific Northwest timber industry.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters