Letters to the Editor - L.A. Times
Pacific Lumber Tries to Cut It Both Ways
January 29, 2005
Re "Bankruptcy Threat With an Edge," Jan. 25: Perhaps Pacific Lumber Co. is "running out of logs" because timber companies such as Pacific Lumber have already deforested the vast majority of virgin forest in the United States.
Permits to cut protected stands should not be issued. Do we want to silt more streams, create more flooding and lose the last of our first-generation forests? To halt financial losses, Pacific Lumber should implement more sustainable business practices (i.e. don't clear-cut everything in sight).
The story about Pacific Lumber gets more bizarre every year. Thanks to the junk bond king, Michael Milken, and corporate raider Charles Hurwitz, Pacific Lumber Co. is now threatening people's livelihoods and the state's hard-won purchase of old-growth timber in the Headwaters Forest.
Citing restrictive regulations, Pacific Lumber claims it must file for bankruptcy if we don't allow it to further foul rivers and cause more damage to private homes. Pacific Lumber agreed to these restrictions in exchange for $480 million. Now, if we don't give in to its demand, it will keep the money and take back the Headwaters Forest through bankruptcy court.
For 140 years Pacific Lumber Co. was a responsible steward of the California forest, providing jobs and lumber in sustainable fashion. Since the invention of junk bonds, the unrestricted greed of a few has taken that legacy and consumed the forest at a rate that will lead to collapse of the forestry economy in Humboldt County. Even more pristine forests will be destroyed and the private property of small landowners will be damaged.
The cruel irony is that for many, the culprit will be the very same environmentalists who warned of this disaster from the beginning. In reality, a bankruptcy would allow wealthy corporate raiders to avoid their responsibilities. But maybe that was part of the plan all along.
The logging controversy in which Pacific Lumber claims it is running out of trees to log has me baffled. For 50 years, I've been hearing logging company claims that dozens of trees are planted for each tree cut down. We should have more trees than we know what to do with. Something smells here.
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