Just in time for Tu B Shvat!

This is a fight that has been going on since well before I was a college forest activist, trying to prevent the State of Oregon to preserve the last un-logged watershed in the state. We didn’t succeed.

Today a lawsuit was filed to halt a slate of new clear cutting in the Sierra Nevadas – the forest destroying technique that is commonplace across the third-world and still used in the USA.

The logging companies have a bogus claim that since they will replant more trees than they cut down, it is GOOD for the world to clear cut. This perverted and warped thinking is what guides much of US forest policy on Federally owned land.

Meanwhile, clear-cutting clogs streams and kills fish and causes erosion. It Not to mention that if they are clearing Old Growth, they are destroying ancient forests that cannot be replaced. The LA Times reports:

Today, the Center for Biological Diversity, a Tucson-based environmental group, filed lawsuits against the California Department of Forestry in seven California counties to halt logging plans for 5,000 acres across the Sierra Nevada and Cascade regions. The group contends that the agency approved the projects without properly analyzing carbon emissions and climate consequences under the California Environmental Quality Act. “Clear-cutting is an abysmal practice that should have been banned long ago due to its impacts on wildlife and water quality,” said Brian Nowicki, CBD’s California climate policy director. “Now, in an era when all land-management decisions need to be fully carbon-conscious, there is no excuse to continue to allow clear-cutting….”

Today’s lawsuits were filed in superior courts in Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Modoc, Shasta, Tehama and Trinity counties. “By continuing to rubber-stamp Sierra Pacific Industries’ clear-cutting plans, the Department of Forestry is chopping a gigantic hole in the credibility of California’s climate policy,” Nowicki said. He added that, last August, Sierra Pacific withdrew plans to log more than 1600 acres following CBD lawsuits over the greenhouse gas effect. Several dozen new Sierra Pacific plans are pending.

Tonight is Tu B Shvat. This should not be happening, but it is.

Of course the company, Sierra Pacific, claims that the environmental groups know nothing and want to kill jobs. Another lie.

By destroying what is left of the natural ecosystem of the Sierra Nevada we are shooting ourselves in the foot. Many more jobs can be created in sustainable industries like tourism if there are forests there to visit, fish to fish, streams to travel, and vistas to photograph.

There is nothing evil about logging – we need timber. The question is how do we get that timber, and from where? There are sustainable models for logging, and forest management. They are just being ignored by Sierra Pacific and others because they cost more, take more time, and require that forests not be felled in one swoop. They have lobbied for years to keep stricter forest protection from being enacted.

Clear-cutting is just not an option. Not now, not ever. Go to ForestEthics.org for more info.

(photo from http://www.stopclearcuttingcalifornia.org/)

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Rabbi Yonah

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