Santa Rosa, CA -- In a brazen move, Maxxam/Pacific Lumber Co. (Maxxam/PL) began logging in the contested "Bonanza" timber harvest plan (THP # 1-05-097 HUM) on Tuesday, September 27 without the required authorization from the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (Water Board). After logging an unknown amount of the 250-acre plan, the illegal logging was stopped by the company. |
Accordingly, on Thursday, September 29, Maxxam/PL was served a Notice of Violation by the Water Board for logging without a required permit.
According to the Notice of Violation, Maxxam/PL began logging the Bonanza plan without first having obtained enrollment under rules known as the General Waste Discharge Requirements. The rules are required of Maxxam/PL to protect water quality against the harmful cumulative effects that the company's logging wreaks on watersheds.
The Bonanza harvest plan contains the largest unprotected, contiguous, occupied marbled murrelet stand left on Maxxam/PL's land. Last year, a comprehensive Status Review for the murrelet, prepared by a blue-ribbon panel of top murrelet researchers, warned that if current trends continue, the endangered species faces a very high probability of extinction in California within a very short time. Despite the clear implication that Maxxam/PL's Habitat Conservation Plan is inadequate to ensure survival or recovery of the murrelet, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has inexplicably released the Bonanza murrelet stands for harvest.
It remains unknown to what extent the Water Board's Notice of Violation will prevent further harvesting in the Bonanza plan. The company is now required to submit a written report to the Water Board on Friday, September 30, describing the illegal activities and the reason the activities took place in the absence of authorization by the Water Board.
"Maxxam's liquidation plan for Humboldt County's old growth forests has yet again run afoul of the law," said Sam Johnston, Private Lands Campaigner for EPIC. "The fate of California's marbled murrelets and the old growth forests they depend on - not to mention the fate of the human communities that depend on the health of these watersheds - should not be determined by a rogue Houston outfit - Maxxam Corp.- whose subsidiary, Scotia Pacific, is flouting the law and draining the resources of Humboldt County just to pay interest on its massive corporate debt," added Johnston.
Ongoing uncertainty about a prospective corporate reorganization was stoked on September 27 when Maxxam/PL's timber-holding subsidiary, Scotia Pacific LLC, called off negotiations with its noteholders. Responding in a press release, the noteholders stated their intention of ultimately spinning off Scotia Pacific into a company separate and independent from its current parent, Pacific Lumber. Pacific Lumber is a subsidiary of Maxxam Corp., which is based in Houston, Tx.