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Environmentalists and Rock Stars Arrested To Protect Old Growth Forests

by Beka Economopoulous Saturday, Jul. 28, 2001 at 7:06 AM

Chicago -More than 20 national environmental and social justice leaders joined with music legends Bonnie Raitt and John Densmore and environmental hero Julia Butterfly Hill to protest Boise Cascade's crusade to silence critics of its old growth logging practices

Directors from Greenpeace, Alliance for Democracy, the Center for Environmental Health, the Chicago Religious Leadership Center, and more than thirty other organizations were arrested today while exposing Boise Cascade's "Dirty Tricks" campaign to limit free speech and smear Rainforest Action Network (RAN).

Raitt and others held a press conference this morning at the Radisson Hotel to outline

Boise Cascade's anti-environmentalist agenda. Joining the conference was Maria Gilfillan, a Chicago school-teacher that was harassed by Boise Cascade employees after her classroom wrote letters to the company, urging protection for ancient rainforests that were threatened by a proposed Boise Cascade plant in Chile. The peaceful civil disobedience immediately followed the press conference at Boise Cascade's Office Products headquarters in nearby Itasca. "Boise Cascade has launched a covert campaign designed to limit free speech and muzzle critics of its old growth logging operations," asserted John Passacantando, Executive "As an American citizen, I'm here to support our fundamental right to free speech-- to peaceably encourage a healthy debate of all sides of the issues," asserted Bonnie Raitt. "The smear tactics of attributing dangerous and illegal activities to responsible, environmental public advocacy groups clearly opposed to such tactics, I find both reprehensible and undemocratic." As one of the largest loggers and distributors of old growth wood products, Boise Cascade has been dubbed by many as "America's Worst Logging Company". Boise Cascade actively distributes wood products from endangered forests in the South America, Southeast Asia, Canada, and around the world. Boise Cascade was also the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit that helped to overturn the popular Roadless Policy, a measure that would have protected 58.5 million acres of America's public wilderness areas. The target of an intense public campaign for more than a year, Boise Cascade has begun attacking critics of its controversial logging operations in an alliance with anti-environmental groups "Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise" and "Frontiers of Freedom Institute." Boise Cascade has harassed RAN's funders, and has tried to smear RAN by attempting to link the organization to acts of eco-sabotage. Boise Cascade anti-environmentalist allies held a Washington DC forum on "Eco-Terrorism and Extremism" in a desperate attempt to label RAN as a terrorist group. Most recently, the anti-environmental coalition is striking at the heart of American democracy, attacking the 501(c)(3) non-profit status of organizations that participate in non-violent civil disobedience. This attack, reminiscent of Nixon-era "dirty tricks," would have undermined such historical achievements as child labor laws, women's right to vote, Civil Rights, and many others. RAN adheres strictly to the principles of non-violent protest in the tradition of MLK and Gandhi.

The jailed protestors include:

Bonnie Raitt Musician

John Densmore Musician & RAN Board Member

Julia Butterfly Hill Author and Activist

Catherine Caulfield Author and EXEC. DIR., Environmental Action Committee of West

Randy Hayes RAN Board of Directors

Jodie Evans RAN Board of Directors

Michael Klein RAN Board of Directors

Mike Roselle Earth First!, RAN, & Ruckus Society Founder, RAN Board of Directors

Ronnie Dugger Founder and Director of Alliance for Democracy

Bea Covington EXEC. DIR. of Missouri Coalition for the Environment & President of Board,

Dogwood Alliance

Randi Spivak EXEC. DIR. of American Lands Alliance

John Passacantando EXEC. DIR. of Greenpeace US

Juliette Majot EXEC. DIR. of International Rivers Network

Michael Green EXEC. DIR. of Center for Environmental Health

Michael Ferner Assistant Dir. of Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy

Tom Weis EXEC. DIR. of National Forest Protection Alliance

Dan Hamburg Former Member of Congress, & EXEC. DIR. of V.O.T.E.

Thomas Hansen Director, Mexico Solidarity Network

Marla Rose Chairperson, EarthSave Chicago

Maria Gilfillen Chicago school-teacher (retired)

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