Damned Enviro News
News of the Damned (environmentalists)


Environmental groups have been active in the area again. In the last Sierra County Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisor Pat Whitley stated that the Board needs to become as aggressive as the environmentalists are. It isn’t certain that’s possible, nor is it certain it’s a good idea. Regardless one’s stance on taking public trees for profit to private corporations, it is becoming increasingly clear that the forests are in dire circumstances. Environmental groups tend toward the immediate restoration of the balance of fire in the public forests. That creates conflict in parts around here.

Earth Island Institute has apparently filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California regarding the Moonlight-Wheeler fire salvage logging. According to an informed source, the complaints of the EII appeal include the things typically mentioned: disregard for damaged forest soil; disregard for wild life including endangered wild life; inadequate roads created for logging but not maintained and not closed, leading to siltation and increased/unauthorized penetration into the forest; marking living trees as dead for the purpose of encouraging timber sales.

The Wheeler and Moonlight fires burned huge sections of forest in 2007. Earth Island Institute originally began complaining about the salvage sales in 2008. This action is a continuation of that.

Earth Island Institute, located in the tiny mountain town of Berkley, California (pop.100,744), is a very big organization which takes on a variety of issues. Their rationale on salvage logging and logging in general is found HERE and here  and here 

Sierra Forest Legacy has also recently filed suit to stop logging projects, some in the Plumas National Forest. The group is focusing on the differences in law, between the Clinton forest acts of 2001 and the Bush timber harvest acts of 2004. The Clinton laws attempted to fold science into the forest framework, and the Bush laws were about turning logs into money. SFL is found in the little mountain town of Sacramento (460,000). Their website is here: The Prospect tried to interview someone from SFL; we haven't been able to connect, but we had fun anyway, since we did it without them; it's still HERE. We look forward to doing an interview with them soon.

How it looks from here: Both environmental groups like Earth Island Institute and Sierra Forest Legacy, and those corporations like Sierra Pacific Industries claim to understand and care about rural folks, but really, neither do, and both exploit us and our lands for their own benefit. When they fight, we get hurt.

That is not to say that we need to be fatalistic, we simply need to keep in mind that nobody is really our friend. When someone wants to work with us and treat us fairly, as, by all indications, Quentin Youngblood has, we need to support them. If the environmentalists want to help, they’ll find cash for us to protect our communities. Currently, the cash for that comes from funders who have more of a timber industry viewpoint. It is very clear that the timber practices and the fire suppression efforts of the past have created this problem, but not allowing fuel removal from crowded forestlands hardly seems like a solution either. If we have to have the woods burn, we should burn it one small section at a time. If there are better ways than fuel removal, help us find the funding. We don’t live where you can make a living from BS, we need to sell logs and carbon to live. Unless you want us hanging around your digs in Berkeley or Sacramento, or Anderson, let us make a living while we rebuild the forest.

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