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by PL Bankruptcy Costs Forest Ecosystem, Workers
Thursday, Mar. 22, 2007 at 4:31 PM
Recent attempts by Maxxam Corporation to abscound with billions in profits as Pacific Lumber Chptr 11 Bankruptcy hearings begin. The location of the hearings should be in CA near the PL workers and their affected ecosystem where the damage occurred, yet Maxxam CEO Hurwitz engineered a ghost corporation 'Scotia Development' to hijack the right to attend bankruptcy hearings from the jobless PL workers..
Bankruptcy 101; Understanding Pacific Lumber Chapter 11
At Humboldt State University last night Mark Lovelace of the the Humboldt Watershed Council discussed the upcoming PL Chptr 11 Bankruptcy hearings and the decision by Maxxam CEO Charles Hurwitz to attempt to hold the hearings in Corpus Christi, TX., a long expensive plane ride away for effected jobless PL workers who were displaced by Maxxam's (3-4 X) rate of timber harvest following the '85 takeover of PL by Maxxam Inc..
The upcoming decision by a judge in Texas regarding Maxxam's attempts to hijack the trial to TX under the guise of the non-existant 'ghost' corporation called 'Scotia Development' created June 5th, 2006 and found only to be in possesion of an empty file cabinet and telephone. Not quite moved in to Corpus Christi yet, eh Uncle Charlie??
As an individual Charles Hurwitz's past is a history of white collar crimes, his status of Maxxam CEO is also at the expense of others, former S&L cohorts Micheal Milkin and Ivan Boesky. The collapse of the Texas Savings and Loan by Hurwitz et.al prior to the PL takeover, though Hurwitz lost his buddies to the federal prosecuter. Good thing Hurwitz thought ahead and bribed a Republican politician John Doolittle to prevent the FDIC from investigating his involvement in the S&L collapse. Currently John Doolittle has squirmed his way into office once again, maybe some protesters could take a road trip & pay him a visit??
We could ask the hypothetical question "What would Humboldt County's redwoods ecosystem and economy be like IF only Doolittle had not interfered with the FDIC regulators doing their jobs and arresting Hurwitz along with his criminal accomplices??" Most likely we already know the answer, old growths, rivers and jobs intacts minus the Maxxam's corporate clearcut intrusion..
Here's some background on the two LA Times reporters who uncovered the links between Doolittle and Hurwitz, along with Pombo, Delay and Abramoff, the word 'corporatist' and 'facist' is sounding less paranoid and more realisitc..
"Today's L.A. TIMES story is an example-- one of many-- of how the Republican culture of corruption works in D.C. and why men like Richard Pombo should be in prison, not in Congress. This particular story is about how DeLay, Pombo and Doolittle used their offices to derail an investigation into a multimillionaire Republican briber/bank robber, Charlie Hurwitz. The FDIC was investigating Houston-based Hurwitz for his role in the looting of a Texas savings and loan (that cost taxpayers .6 BILLION-- who does he think he is, Neil Bush?). The deadly trio, DeLay, Pombo and Doolittle, pressured the FDIC into dropping the investigation, saving Hurwitz at least 0 million (and earning each of them very hefty bribes; Hurwitz' legal contributions to right-wing pols like DeLay, Pombo, Doolittle and Bush are around half a million dollars; no one knows how extensive his illegal bribes were but estimates are shocking). After DeLay charged the FDIC was "harassing" Hurwitz (one of his big campaign contributors) and the FDIC refused to buckle, "Doolittle and Pombo — both considered proteges of DeLay — used their power as members of the House Resources Committee to subpoena the agency's confidential records on the case, including details of the evidence FDIC investigators had compiled on Hurwitz. Then, in 2001, the two congressmen inserted many of the sensitive documents into the Congressional Record, making them public and accessible to Hurwitz's lawyers, a move that FDIC officials said damaged the government's ability to pursue the banker. The FDIC's chief spokesman characterized what Doolittle and Pombo did as 'a seamy abuse of the legislative process.'"
read on @;
Lovelace also provided evidence that PL's bankruptcy is NOT a result of habitat protection regulation by environmentalists (or tree-sitter eco-defenders either), though IS a direct result of the accumulated debt and the increased rates of logging. When compared with other logging corporations with similar land acerage, Maxxam/PL was clearly setting the trends for highest rates of cutting per year. Not good for an economy that values logging jobs into the next few generations..
The predictions by earlier ef!/iww activists (ie., Judi Bari) and PL workers (who had their pensions raided by Maxxam) immediately following Maxxam's takeover of PL have gotten to their terminal end point as Humboldt County CA residents are shouldering PL's aqquired debt of nearly 800 million following the two decades of clear cut logging. Profits by Maxxam have increased following their '85 takeover of PL, and like the mysterious TX corp called 'ENRON', have vanished into thin air..
The burden of Maxxam/PL's logging falls hardest onto the redwood forest ecosystem. The rivers are choked with eroded sediment runoff from the clearcut logging on unstable slopes. Salmon eggs suffocate as the fine clay dusts previously protected by the duff of fallen leaf litter is no longer there. Entire species of flowers like the redwood sorrel have their habitats shrunken and fragmented, while the endangered birds like the marbled murrelet become crowded by nesting competition into extinction..
Humboldt Watershed Council are representing the downstream residents who were/are flooded out by the sedimentation and flooding of the local rivers caused by clearcut logging. While seasonal flooding is sometimes a benefit in valley ecosystems by deposition of topsoil, in steep mountainous coastal regions flooding can be worsened beyond beneficial to problematic by erosion and sedimentation from clearcut logging on slopes (most everywhere)..
The main objections of Earth First! to Maxxam/PL was their insistence on clearcut logging. Since EF! activist Judi Bari was also with the iww (anarchist union), she realized that clearcut logging actually logged more trees with less workers than more sustainable selective logging. The FBI investigation has yet to prove they care about who bombed Judi Bari?
"The jury clearly found that six of the seven FBI and OPD defendants framed Judi and Darryl in an effort to crush Earth First! and chill participation in Redwood Summer. That was evident in the fact that 80% of the .4 million total damage award was for violation of their First Amendment rights to speak out and organize politically in defense of the forests.
"The jury exonerated us," said Darryl Cherney. "They found the FBI to be the ones in violation of the law. The American public needs to understand that the FBI can't be trusted. Ten jurors got a good, hard look at the FBI and they didn't like what they saw."
other Judi Bari info @;
Following Maxxam's takeover, PL's new logging methods were harming both the ecosystem and the workers. Increased rates of timber (especially old-growth) harvest were nearly exponential following Maxxam's '85 takeover, with predictions of future bankruptcy coming within a few years of accuracy. By protecting the last few redwood old growths targeted by Maxxam/PL, tree-sitters may have lengthened Maxxam's stay by engaging them in a struggle over thier precious 'assetts', as old growth redwoods in Maxxam's eyes are large towers of timber cash..
However, by protecting the old growth redwoods from Maxxam/PL chainsaws the tree-sitters also may also have helped ensure the survival of the endangered marbled murrelet, the old growth nesting seabird that flies out to the ocean for food. The old growth canopy offers protection to the murrelet eggs from predation. Less old growths each year means less habitat for future murrlet populations. Maxxam/PL's desire for liquidation of the old growths means during their 2 1/2 decades of old growth selective harvest the murrelets have lost habitat exponentially as old growths were decimated..
Another problem caused by Maxxam/PL's clearcut logging is their overdependecy on pesticides that are sprayed on an empty field following the clearcut. As redwood seedlings return, they compete with other grasses and sun-tolerant plants attempting to retake the clearcut before all the organic topsoil is carried away by long winter rains. Since Maxxam/PL is concerned with their public image, they attempt to regrow redwood seedlings instantly, thus spraying the grasses with pesticides. During this process the pesticides run off and enter into the riparian ecosystem, where they attach to plants, algae and are eventually bioaccumulated into the bodies of predators, frogs, fish, osprey, humans, etc..
Basketweavers also have the human right to collect their basketry weaving material without exposure to excess pesticides. Local indigenous cultures collects along the coastal region and are at risk from serious illness if timber corporations like Maxxam/PL (or SPI) frequently apply toxic herbicides as a 'remedy' for clearcutting..
It was known by Maxxam/PL, SPI and other logging companies that sovereign indigenous peoples who need safe gathering material for their culture's basketry designs were opposed to pesticide use by logging corporations. If clearcutting were ended, there would be far less need for pesticides. The problem with Maxxam/PL is that their 'cut and run' mentality didn't allow for either extra jobs or extra ecosystem precautions, only for extra profits. Notice the Hupa's sustainable logging methods banned the use of pesticides early on in '78. This is very different from plantation forests and excess herbicide/pesticide spraying by corporate logging..
CIBA Policy Statement on Pesticides
March 5, 1994
"The California Indian Basketweavers Association is opposed to the use of pesticides. We have adopted this position for the following reasons;
The web of life that connects all living things is harmed when poisons are applied to our environment.
The biological diversity of our forests and wetlands is diminished when pesticides are used to eliminate plants that do not have commercial potential.
Many of these same plants provide us with our foods and teas, are used in baskets and for healing, ceremonial and other traditional purposes. When we harvest and use these plants, or take fish or game, we want to know that they are free of poisons. We want the assurance that we are not endangering our health or that of our children and unborn generations.
Pesticides contribute to the poisoning of water tables and watersheds and the destruction of fisheries.
The licensing and regulation of pesticides favors pesticide manufacturers and users over public health and environmental well-being. The long-term effects of pesticides now in use are not known. There is mounting evidence that pesticides are contributing to an increase in human cancers and to reproductive disorders throughout the animal kingdom.
Timber can be grown profitably without the use of pesticides. The hand labor involved in site preparation and thinning can be a source of forestry jobs at a time when they are badly needed. The Hupa Tribe in northwest California manages a profitable timber industry on tribal lands, where pesticides were banned in 1978.
We condemn the policy of acceptable risk, which maintains that there is an acceptable level of human suffering and environmental degradation that can be balanced out by the benefits of using pesticides. The cost of pesticide use to people, wildlife and ecosystems is immense, often personal and tragic, and can never be justified by economic gain."
read on @;
The Chptr 11 Bankruptcy hearings need to be held in CA, and the people of the greater coastal redwoods community need to reclaim the lands taken over by Maxxam for healing. There needs to be dialogue on potential future possibilites; either community forests, land returned to locally displaced indigenous communities (ie., Wiyot, Round Valley, etc..), public parks or a combination of the three..
What coastal redwood people clearly don't want is another nightmare with a 'new' corporate logging giant (SPI, LP, GP, etc..) or whomever else grabs up Maxxam/PL's lost 'assetts' as creditor banks put the forests back on the chopping block for the next giant logging corporation..
Here's some details from PL's Chprt 11 workshop @ HWC;
"Stay tuned for information on future workshops over the coming months. Future workshop topics will likely include: Pension and Severance, Kaiser Aluminum - Life under a Maxxam bankruptcy, and Bankruptcy 201."
Bankruptcy 101 Workshop
Friday, March 2nd, 6-8 pm, River Lodge Fortuna
more info on Maxxam/PL Chptr 11 Bankruptcy @;
Shout out to Dirty South Earth First! in Houston, we need ya'll to make some noise over there in Texas and bring Maxxam back to CA so he can face the people who's lives he ruined by his clearcutting corporate greed..
"DSEF! Rocks the House
Dirty South Earth First! (DSEF!, aka Dirt First!) launched a campaign to pressure and embarrass Hurwitz by visiting his home, country club, favorite restaurant, the homes and offices of business partners, financiers and even his synagogue.
DSEF! first confronted the ecoterrorists of Maxxam on July 13. Going beyond the fortified corporate offices and the professional public relations hacks, DSEF! visited Maxxam Executive Vice President Diane Dudley and CEO Hurwitz at their private residences in the affluent Houston enclave of West University and at the high-rise complex, the Houstonian, respectively.".
read on @;
love, peace and justice,
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