By Good News Network
Monday, March 01, 1999
before the final deadline, Pacific Lumber agreed to accept federal and
state funds totaling nearly a quarter billion dollars in exchange for
the Headwaters Forest, over 10,000 acres including the largest
unprotected grove of ancient redwoods in the world.
years of tough negotiations, protection is ensured in Humbolt County,
California for 7,500 acres of redwoods in the Headwaters Forest and
4,500 acres more as a "buffer" zone. Included is about 3,000 acres of
old-growth redwoods, many of which are more than 1,000 years old and
more than 300 feet high.
In addition, a Habitat Conservation
Plan (HCP) establishes conditions which Pacific Lumber must comply with
when it logs on 210,000 acres of nearby land. Those restrictions will
include a ban on logging in 12 so-called "lesser" cathedrals, which
include about 8,000 acres of old-growth redwoods. Pacific Lumber will
also be restricted from logging in "no-cut" buffers on streams.
HCP, developed in compliance with the Endangered Species Act, protects
a number of endangered species, including the marbled murrelet, a small
bird which nests in old-growth redwoods, and the coho salmon of the
streams, although some environmental scientists would prefer stricter
water quality standards to further benefit the Salmon.
The Sierra Club characterized the deal as "a big step forward in
protecting the ancient forests," and it praised the efforts of Governor
Gray Davis and senators in the state that helped to raise $100 million
to buy additional lands.
Pacific Lumber, whose stock rose
almost 24% after the announcement, said it was given "assurances" that
it could remain viable as a local business and employer of 130 years.
"Years of work went into this agreement but, it was worth it," read
their statement, which described the deal as "truly a compromise."
Secretary Bruce Babbitt thanked the U.S. Congress for "having the
foresight" to provide $250 million dollars for "this gift to future
generations." President Clinton praised the work of Davis, Senator
Diane Feinstein, and the "tireless efforts" of the negotiators for
enshrining the "majesty and awe of the Headwaters... and the web of
life it sustains."