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Mendo Redwoods Corp plan for PL bankruptcy

by Public comment options 4 community forests Wednesday, Mar. 12, 2008 at 6:01 PM

Three chances for the public to voice their ideas, ask questions and present alternatives to the Mendocino Redwoods corporation's plans for logging on (Maxxam)/Pacific Lumber land following the PL bankruptcy..

Note to L.A. readers;

This article pertains to the forests of northern CA, and written public comment options are also available to ANY resident of CA if they cannot make the trip to northern CA. Remember, the redwood forests are a treasure for all peoples to enjoy, and once lost to clearcuts, the effects of corporate logging can be felt as far away as L.A. Please make your voices heard, and help us reclaim the forests for the people of CA by preventing additional corporate intrusions..

Here are three chances for the public to voice their ideas on the proposal from Mendocino Redwoods Corporation to takeover logging where (Maxxam)/Pacific Lumber finishes off after their Chapter 11 bankruptcy trial..

From the eureka times standard;

"Mendocino Redwood comes north to air Palco plan"

John Driscoll/The Times-Standard

Article Launched: 03/11/2008 01:27:19 AM PDT

"The Mendocino Redwood Co. is coming to Humboldt to hear questions and concerns surrounding their proposal to reorganize the bankrupt Pacific Lumber Co.

Two meetings will be held Saturday and another on March 18, an effort to simplify the complex restructuring plan filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Corpus Christi, Texas.

”We hope that people can to some extent judge what we say in the context of what we've done in Mendocino County over almost 10 years,” said Mendocino Redwood Chairman Sandy Dean.

Palco's main creditor Marathon Structured Finance Fund has teamed up with Mendocino Redwood, which has proposed to invest in and operate the Scotia sawmill and continue timber operations on Palco's 210,000 acres in Humboldt County. Mendocino Redwood has promised to seek certification through the Forest Stewardship Council, eliminate traditional clearcutting and reduce logging overall.

Palco has proposed a plan to reorganize both itself and its timber-holding subsidiary Scotia Pacific -- although most parties in the case have signaled the plan is effectively dead -- and two alternative plans to reorganize the companies separately. The bondholders owed 4 million secured by Scotia Pacific's land have proposed a quick sale of the property that would achieve market value, but no plan to restructure Palco.

The Unsecured Creditors Committee has recommended that unsecured creditors vote for the Mendocino Redwood plan, and against the other plans. Dean said he hopes creditors will come to the meeting, and said they have an important vote before Judge Richard Schmidt decides in April which plan will be approved to rebuild Palco."

To download a pdf of disclosure documentation, please click here

article found @;

http://www.times-standard.com/ci_8530010?source=most_viewed

public comment times and places;

"What: Mendocino Redwood Palco plan

Three meetings

* Saturday, 10 a.m., Monday Club, 610 Main St., Fortuna

* Saturday, 2 p.m., Red Lion Hotel, 1929 Fourth St., Eureka

* March 18, 2 p.m., Wharfinger Building, 1 Marina Way, Eureka"



some background info on MRC;

"The main theme of MRC's "greenwash-ing" campaign is that the company is committed to stewardship and sustainable forestry. This is a laudable concept, but MRC isn't practicing what it preaches.

In fact, the company is cutting at twice the maximum rate recommended by Hans Burkhardt, author of Maximizing Forest Productivity and advisor to Mendocino County. Even though their forest lands have already been stripped of most trees of significant size and age, MRC is bearing down heavily on the few areas (like the Albion River watershed) that L-P hadn't completely ravaged."

above found @;

http://www.mecgrassroots.org/NEWSL/ISS32/32.05Tanoak.html

also;

Mendocino Redwoods Corporation is owned by the Fisher family, the same group of tycoons that owns the GAP clothing brand. From clearcuts to sweatshops, the Fisher family wealth is built upon corruption and greed, do we really want this corporation to replace Maxxam/PL in Humboldt? Is this lesser evilism, or nearly equal evilism??

"The Fisher family of the Gap clothing store empire (including Banana Republic and Old Navy Stores) is destroying the last of the ancient redwood forest in our area, and is driving endangered species to extinction, including the Coho Salmon, the steelhead trout, the marbled murelet and the spotted owl.

The Save the Redwoods-Boycott the Gap* Campaign was created by northern California forest activists and members of the Greenwood Watershed Association, a community environmental group in Elk, California. The purpose of the Save the Redwoods-Boycott the Gap* Campaign is to inform Gap customers about Fisher logging and to convince the Fishers to place all of their damaged redwood forests into a conservation land trust."

above found @;

http://www.gapsucks.org/

We are told to chose from three limited options following the Pacific Lumber (PL) bankruptcy, either development and sprawl, logging by MRC or continued logging by Maxxam/PL. Another option calls for the preservation of redwood groves as parks, and some vague proposals for community forestry..

Here are the three 'official' proposals on the table, listed by EPIC;

http://www.wildcalifornia.org/pressreleases/number-92

"Three New Pacific Lumber Reorganization Plans Filed With Bankruptcy"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 31, 2008

For more information, please contact:

Sam Johnston, EPIC Private Lands Campaigner

(415) 377-0415

"January 31, 2008 - Three reorganization plans for the bankrupt Pacific Lumber Company (PL) were filed by yesterday's Court deadline. PL's two largest secured creditor entities each filed separate plans, as did PL itself, amending its earlier proposals. The review process will commence in a Court confirmation hearing in Texas on April 1, 2008.

The three plans differ from each other in significant ways, including how the PL companies will be reorganized, their financial structure, payment to creditors, ownership of the Scotia Pacific timberlands and Pacific Lumber town and mill assets.

The Reorganization Plan Proposals

#1) "EPIC's initial review shows that PL's plan would enable its ultimate parent company, Maxxam, to retain control of PL as well as to develop and sell a significant amount of forestlands (about 22,000 acres) for development. Maxxam's continued control would mean the continuation of a forest management regime that has failed to protect economic vitality, watersheds, and habitat. Further loss of timberlands to development, particularly in the areas PL has targeted, is unacceptable.

#2) Scopac's largest secured creditor, a group of lenders referred to as the Noteholders, firmly maintain that PL's proposed plan is infeasible, and have filed a plan that would eliminate any further control in the companies by Maxxam and would result in a liquidation of Scopac's lands in a bidding process."

The above listed Plans #1 & #2 are clearly the worst case scenarios and should be avoided. Already overlogged slopes of Humboldt cannot stand for additional clearcut logging, let alone permanent loss of soil from development and suburban sprawl. Ownership of PL by Maxxam has resulted in the last two decades of lost habitat for murrelets, erosion spawned flooding and stream sedimentation from clearcuts, raided worker pensions and other corporate crimes. Clearly Maxxam needs to cease and desist all their activities in Humboldt, so that excludes Plan #1 from being acceptable. Bidding on Maxxam/PL land for auction only invites corporate developers, who would attempt to fill the Humboldt hills with sprawling mansions, the effects of erosional runoff into the watershed would be someone else's problem. That leaves Plan #2 as the next best option for the discard pile..

#3) "PL's largest secured creditor, Marathon Structured Finance Fund (Marathon), has teamed with the Mendocino Redwood Company (MRC) with a plan intended to avoid a liquidation sale, keep PL and Scopac united as one company with MRC the major owner, and establish a new company owned by Marathon to manage the town of Scotia and other non-timber operational assets."

Plan #3 is the proposal by MRC that would be open to public comment on the days listed. This plan is the third worst evil as the high rates of logging, clearcuts and old growth harvesting would likely continue as under the previous owners Maxxam. No doubt we can expect the MRC public relations experts who will be present for the comment to distance themselves from Maxxam and attempt to present a face of sustainability. We should not be fooled, as this changing of the "guard" in timber terms only means more years of unsustainalbe short term profit based corporate logging..

#4) "In addition to these three proposals, an outside consortium of organizations has announced its desire to purchase the companies. This alliance of conservation groups including The Nature

Conservancy, Save-the-Redwoods League and the Community Forestry Team (a coalition of Humboldt County-based forestry, conservation and environmental advocates) has joined with several private capital investors including Atlas Holdings, Bank of America, Conservation Forestry LLC and the Redwood Forest Foundation Inc. to offer an innovative proposal.

Their plan would create a permanent conservation easement over almost 200,000 acres as part of a plan that "guarantees good, sustainable timber management in perpetuity and at the same time protects against development." Among other things, the proposal would offer the Humboldt community "the opportunity for optimum participation and the option of a level of community ownership."

"

Clearly Plan #4 is the best option for the people and ecosystem of Humboldt, as it maximizes local input and here the treatment and care of the forests will be in the hands of the community..



"EPIC's Initial Reaction to the Plans

EPIC greatly appreciates the efforts undertaken by the major creditors to present reorganization plans and the proposal by the alliance of conservation groups promoting a sustainable vision for the future of Humboldt County. These efforts highlight the ultimate importance of removing Maxxam from control of these companies. In contrast to these efforts, PL has continued pushing

the company in a downward spiral to benefit Maxxam at the expense of its creditors, the local community, and ecosystem recovery and health.

EPIC recognizes the risk going forward if an agreement cannot be reached among the non-Maxxam parties. One possible outcome of a lack of agreement is an auction sale of the PL companies, which could result in a purchase by another industrial logging firm or, worse, development interests. There is no guarantee that a favorable outcome will result from an auction sale of the companies.

EPIC is evaluating these proposals according to certain core principles that EPIC maintains must be addressed to meet the needs of the forest and the local economy, which include:

* permanent protection of remaining old-growth trees and recruitment of additional late seral forest, especially as needed for listed and sensitive species such as the marbled murrelet and coho salmon;

* use of selection/uneven-age logging and elimination of destructive silvicultural practices;

* preservation and enhancement of workers, jobs, the local economy, the Scotia mill, and community involvement in the company;

* protection of watersheds and repair of damaged watersheds to protect resources, downstream residents and other stakeholders;

* company transparency on inventory, inventory projections, and financial and debt structuring;

* permanent protection for Marbled Murrelet Conservation Areas (MMCAs) plus buffers.

Governor Schwarzenegger Weighs In

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has weighed in, stating that "... [t]hese lands and assets represent a unique public trust for the state of California" and declaring the issue to be "of paramount importance to all Californians." The Governor urges that the Headwaters Agreement and associated Habitat Conservation Plan should remain in place for any new ownership and that any reorganization plan should preserve timberlands, watershed and wildlife protection, and local economic health.

"Now can begin the hard work of evaluating these proposals to see what will work best for the forest resources and for the people of Humboldt County," EPIC's spokesman Sam Johnston commented. "As Maxxam continues to take what it can for its own benefit, the people and natural resources of Humboldt County need a new solution: an ownership that provides good jobs, local economic benefits, and much needed and overdue habitat protection and watershed restoration."

"

Additional options;

When discussing community forestry, it would be great to view other examples of community owned and operated forests, such as Sunny Brae and Weaverville. The community forests provide local people with greater job options with small scale selective logging, instead of clearcuts by corporate logging. The difference is that corporate clearcuts and industrial logging focus on short term profits and employ fewer people than selective logging that requires hand harvest and removal, thus providing additional jobs. community forests also provide local people with recreation options as unlike corporate owned forests using "private property" to deter visitors, community forests are public property and open to low impact recreation..

Here's some background from the Weaverville community forest site;

"WHAT IS A COMMUNITY FOREST?

A community forest is owned and/or managed by a local entity, whether it be a city, like the Arcata Community Forest, or another public entity. In fact, we have an excellent example of a successful community forest in Arcata. Their forest is 1100 acres, 900 acres of which are located next to the town. The forest is highly visible from Highway 101 and most parts of the town. It has been managed as a community forest for over 40 years.

With a community forest, the community gets to decide what the values are. In Weaverville, important values that have been expressed include high visual quality, fuels reduction, sustained revenue, recreation, timber harvesting, firewood collection, improved forest health and wildlife habitat. In addition, areas that are sensitive to ground disturbance, like historic resources, and unstable slopes, can be protected in the plan.

These values are not mutually exclusive. In addition, the jobs stay in the community, as well as the logs. Public input and awareness is welcomed and encouraged. As a result, the community has a stake in the forest, and can become better educated about forestry issues."

above found @;

http://www.tcrcd.net/w-ville_forest/what_is_a_cf.htm

We also need to remember the effects that Maxxam/PL's decades of corporate clearcut logging has on indigenous peoples of the region who rely on the rivers for salmon and eel. The clearcuts, soil erosion and stream sedimentation directly impact the river's fisheries and lack of salmon equals loss of culture and health for the region's indigenous populations..

When making decisions that will continue to effect the region's indigenous nations, our community needs to be inclusive and provide some of Maxxam/PL's land to the local Native American peoples as reparations for the lost salmon and potential for good stewardship forestry. Restoration and return of land to indigenous peoples is directly correlated with their autonomy, stability and self-reliance. We cannot expect the indigenous peoples of the North Coast to succeed if their landspace is decimated from corporate clearcut logging and the salmon streams choked with sediment..

The Hupa Tribal Forestry program is an example of good ecological stewardship as they avoid clearcutting and thus avoid application of herbicides. In addition value is placed upon the forest as a provider of medicinal plants and plants needed for indigenous basket weaving. This method is logging is similar to community forestry mentioned above, as the indigenous nations can decide their own future by logging selectively on their sovereign land without corporate intrusions..

Highlight from;

"Against the Odds; Re-Building Community Through Forestry on the Hupa Reservation"

"The forest plan alternative that was eventually chosen for the 1994-2003 period sets the annual allowable cut at 10.4 mm b.f., significantly lower than any prior post-WW II allowable cut. The plan prioritizes stand rehabilitation and conifer restocking of areas that were captured by brush and tanoak following previous timber harvesting activities using manual release and planting methods (herbicide application was banned by a tribal resolution in the late 1970s). It identifies a wide variety of watershed restoration activities needed to protect domestic watersources and protect and enhance salmonid habitat. In response to issues raised by tribal members concerning cultural and socioeconomic issues, the plan identifies a large number of archeological and ceremonial sites as well as eight specific cultural areas, which include mushroom gathering areas, Port Orford Cedar areas, and camps and campgrounds, in which little or no timber harvesting is allowed. These cultural areas total more than 6,000 acres. Additionally, silvicultural prescriptions for timber harvesting in areas that produce mushrooms and other non-timber forest products that are not included in those areas are developed in a manner that is sensitive to the need to maintain and/or enhance their abundance. The plan also identifies forest areas important as viewsheds, wildlife areas (riparian corridors, travel corridors, falcon activity centers, traditional species activity areas, etc.), riparian areas, etc., in which timber harvesting is also restricted or not allowed at all. In short, the current forest plan effectively maps onto the tribe’s forest ecosystem a wide variety of culturally informed and traditional forest management practices and uses. The extent to which a cultural overlay modifies, shapes, and conditions the tribe’s timber harvest operations is unprecedented in this century in the 20th Century. It represents the landscapes effects of the integration of sovereignty, technical forest management capacity, and a participatory process that encourages the expression of culturally rooted values and interests that pertain to the forest resource.iii

The Northwest Economic Adjustment Initiative (NEAI) at Hoopa: its role in strengthening community-forest relations Many of the NEAI projects at Hoopa touch or engage directly with the dense web of relations that bind together the community and the forest ecosystem. In general, these projects were advanced on the assumption that enhancing community well-being and improving forest ecosystem health are interdependent goals."

entire article found @;

http://www.sierrainstitute.us/Hoopa_case_cover.pdf

Why not provide other regional indigenous nations like Round Valley Tribes, Wailaki Wintu and the Wiyot with some portion of the Maxxam/PL land in question for their own forestry program similar to the Hupa Tribal Forestry?

Land reclamations for North American indigenous nations is a path for the U.S. to regain some credibility in the human rights realm, and it is simply the most ethical path we need to take as a community. We can begin by collectively apologizing to the displaced tribes of the Round Valley Reservation (Nome Cult Trail) and offering the forest land claimed by Maxxam/PL to be returned to their stewardship..

"Nome Cult Trail

History of the 1863 Relocation

"My grandfather got caught.....at Cherokee. An army of people and miners came to round up and drive off all Indians...the soldiers came and took women, girls, boys, everybody to a corral at Chico. There were about 400 to 500 Indians driven to Chico by soldiers on horseback."

- Leland Scott

The removal of the Indians from Chico to the Nome Cult Reservation in 1863 is one of the many forced relocations following the establishment of reservations in northern California in the 1850's. Several different tribes were moved to the Nome Cult Reservation after it was established in Round Valley in 1856. "Nome Cult" comes from the Sacramento Valley Wintun's term nome kechl or "western tribe."

Most of those removed from Chico were Maidu from the northern Sacramento Valley and adjacent foothills, but members of other tribes were also relocated. In September 1863, 461 Indians were marched under guard from Chico to the Nome Cult Reservation, nearly 100 miles across the Sacramento Valley and rugged North Coast Ranges. Only 277 Indians completed the journey. Some were killed, a few escaped, and others were left behind.

Although the path itself has disappeared, we now call this route the Nome Cult Trail. The most grueling part of the trail passed through what today is the Mendocino National Forest. The Nome Cult Trail was a tragic chapter in our state's history; it is also a story about the resilience and strength of California Indians. It is an important legacy for their descendants and for all Californians.

"....soldiers came on horse's and set the West people's [Maidu] roundhouses on fire. If anyone ran away the soldiers shot him, and if he did not run away they probably shot him anyway...."

-Coyote Man"

article found @;

http://www.covelo.net/tribes/pages/nomecult/tribes_nome_cult_history.shtml

As a community we are presented with the unique chance for a real change and restoring past wrongs during this PL bankruptcy trial. Though it may be a bit late in the day to request additional plans be put on the table, there is no time like the present to offer new ideas for the coastal forests we all share..

additional info on PL bankruptcy from overlogging;

http://www.judibari.org/

http://www.headwaterspreserve.org/

http://www.wildcalifornia.org/

http://mattolewild.blogspot.com/

http://www.treesfoundation.org/index.shtml

http://www.northcoastearthfirst.org/

http://www.fojb.org/

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