For Immediate Release
October 1, 2002
Contact Naomi Wagner: (707) 629-3546
MAXXAM/PL CAUGHT VIOLATING JUDGES ORDER - ACTIVIST ARRESTED
Over 20 non-violent forest activists who stayed out overnight at Fox Camp Gate, in the Mattole Watershed, caught Maxxam/Pacific Lumber red-handed violating Judge John Golden's August 29th stay, which ordered that all logging operations on all company land must cease. When the Humboldt County Sheriff arrived the activist's 24 hour blockade was destroyed and one man was arrested.
Despite repeated clarifications strengthening and extending the stay, Maxxam/PL has continued to conduct business as usual, felling trees, and yarding and hauling the logs that they have cut in defiance of the five-week-old ruling.
In fact, Maxxam/PL has completed clear-cutting on at least nine Timber Harvest Plans, from Fox Camp to Taylor Peak, since the stay was issued.
"Why is the Judge's ruling not being enforced and why are they allowed to profit from illegal logging?" asked local resident and activist Naomi Wagner, after she viewed the scene of the car blockade at Fox Camp Gate.
At dawn on Monday, three log trucks and numerous Lewis Logging and Wills Trucking vehicles carrying crews to work, passed through the gate and across Humboldt Redwood State Park property to their off-limits Timber Harvest Plans. On their way out, the first fully loaded log truck was stopped by a strategically placed older model car, spray-painted with the message: "Maxxam Out of Humboldt County!".
An activist attached himself to the outside of the car by locking his arms into a sixteen-foot-long "anaconda," a flexible, tubular lock-box covered in silver duct tape, coiled through the car's windows and trunk.
Activists are willing to take risks including arrest prevent the cutting of old-growth, clearcutting, logging on steep slopes, and the use of toxic herbicides in the forest. Maxxam/PL's operations in the Mattole include all of these unsustainable practices, causing massive erosion which increases the potential for landslides in this seismically active area, and destroys crucial habitat for numerous endangered species.
This protest is focused specifically on Maxxam/PL's flagrant flouting of Judge Golden's rule. The order stems from a lawsuit filed by the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC), the Sierra Club,
and United Steelworkers of America against the California Department of Forestry (CDF), California Fish and Game, and Maxxam/PL. Golden ruled that they failed to comply with the conditions of the Incidental Take Permit under the Sustained Yield Plan, as required by the 1998 Headwaters Forest Agreement.
After three years of non-compliance, including crucial "lost" documents, the stay was issued prohibiting all further logging operations. Company officials, subcontractors and security guards have feigned ignorance of the court order, although Maxxam/PL lawyer Frank Basik acknowledged in court the "broad and sweeping" nature of the ruling. When called upon to enforce the ruling, CDF said it would "defer to the company's interpretation," and newly elected Humboldt County Sheriff Gary Philps
says he can not enforce the ruling in this civil case until Maxxam/PL is found in contempt of court. The Sheriffs, have arrested some twenty people in logging protests over the last two weeks.
"I'm not leaving until haul me to jail," said the activist from his lockdown, "I'm here to fight for the trees."
Humboldt residents have vowed to maintain blockades until a contempt order is issued and enforced. They call on the community for solidarity and support.