Filed under: Environment, Northwest
Report from Northern California regarding the campaign to save the ancient Mattole Forest.
Lost Coast, California (June 3rd 2019) – The struggle over the future of the rare forests of Rainbow Ridge is once again escalating. While members of the public continue to oppose the logging, Humboldt Redwood Company has once again sent in military style security guards to maintain 24 hour occupation of the logging sites.
Approval of a new controversial logging plan (1-19-00029HUM Rainbow Ranch THP) has been twice delayed following a flurry of public comments opposing the logging plan. While these comments range from concern over climate change to loss of endangered species habitat, two concerns have given regulatory agency CALFIRE pause for thought- toxicity of the herbicide Roundup and the associated fire hazard when areas of trees are killed with this poison and left standing.
“There are two revisions we will need within the plan.” wrote CALFIRE forester Glenn Flamik in a recent email to Humboldt Redwood Company Forester Deakon Duey. In the timber harvest plan, Duey asserts that “there are no reported cases of long-term health effects in humans due to Glyphosate.” In the letter, Flamik points to public comments regarding “recent court cases awarding millions of dollars to victims of Roundup exposure who developed cancer.” Next Flamik wrote, “Public comment has raised the concern of using hack and squirt treatment of hardwoods and generating increased fuel loads of dead trees. Please address this practice of vegetative management and the wildfire risk associated with this THP.”
Emily Johnstone, who was one of several arrested last summer at a forest protection blockade had this to say: “Roundup is a threat to the health and safety of our community, and that includes the workers applying the poison. Many of us live in fear of a deadly forest fire burning through our communities, these dead standing trees and logging slash and overcrowded tree-farms are a ticking time-bomb”. The new logging plan remains unapproved as Flamik continues to work on his official response to the public concern.
Meanwhile on Rainbow Ridge, new security guard camps have sprung up, replete with dogs, surveillance cameras and at least one drone. “The militarized repression of protestors was key to Humboldt Redwood Companies re-taking the main access road last year, but just like last year, it will only draw more attention and support for forest defenders”, said Johnstone.
In spite of the threat of arrest or injury posed by the guards, dogs and tasers, Earth First! Humboldt, a local environmental activist group, is organizing a training camp for forest defenders to prepare to resist the logging. It will be held in mid June in a location near Rainbow Ridge. While these concerns may not be addressed or alleviated any time soon, logging could commence any day, leaving forest defenders in the position of last line of defense. “In the long tradition of civil disobedience and hardcore non-violent direct action, we are ready to do all we can to get in the way of this attack on our environment”, said Johnstone.