Archive for October, 2017

Stop Mendocino National Forest Clearcutting!!!

Thursday, October 19th, 2017
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Take Action Now: The Mendocino National Forest is proposing roughly 1,000 acres of even-aged logging – basically clearcutting – in the headwaters of Grindstone Creek. This includes; green tree retention, group selection, overstory removal and shelterwood seed cut. Green tree retention removes 85% of the trees, group selection equates to mini-clearcuts, overstory removal cuts all the big trees and leaves the smaller ones and shelterwood leaves a few large trees to provide a future seed source. Called the “Four Beetles South” project, the Forest Service is using legal loopholes to avoid public comment to cut a vast swath of forest. This is an alarming return to the old-school industrial practices that we thought we had escaped on national forests.

The plan is being pushed through with minimal environmental analysis and only one opportunity for public comment, also known as a categorical exclusion (CE), purportedly to “avoid litigation.” But by attempting to avoid litigation, the Four Beetles South project is instead inviting it. If the final decision on the project were unfavorable, only filing a lawsuit in federal court could change its course.

In order to use a CE, projects must meet an exacting set of requirements. It must: be a restoration treatment; maximize the retention of old-growth and large trees; use the best available science while maintaining ecological integrity; and it has to be developed and implemented through collaborative process. Four Beetles South fails to meet those requirements.

This “forest health” project is purportedly aimed at making the forest more resilient to insects and disease and is necessary to stop beetles from killing trees. The agency claims it is mimicking beetles by killing trees but it is just capturing the monetary value. In essence, the Forest Service wants to kill the trees to protect the forest, but without trees and snags, there is not forest to protect.

Deforestation, e.g. even-aged logging, has caused an extreme fire hazard throughout our forests, is the leading cause of the 6th great mass extinction of wildlife and directly attributes to global warming. Instead of protecting our forests, the Forest Service is moving forward to make a quick buck and meet timber targets. It’s time agency planners, who are supposed to be serving the public and caring for the land, get with the 21st century.

Please urge the Mendocino National Forest Supervisor and Acting Grindstone District Ranger to rescind the Four Beetles South scoping notice!


EPIC 40th Anniversary Fall Celebration with Casey Neill, Alice DiMicele and Joanne Rand

Thursday, October 12th, 2017
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You are cordially invited to celebrate forty years of grassroots activism for forest and wildlife protection at the EPIC Fall Celebration on Friday, November 3rd from 6pm-midnight at the Mateel Community Center in Redway, CA. We are very pleased to present musical activists Casey Neill and the Norway Rats, Alice DiMicele and Joanne Rand who will be sure to take us on a trip back in time down memory lane, through the redwood curtain and to the roots of the North Coast environmental movement.

EPIC FALL CELEBRATION SCHEDULE

6:00          Doors Open/ Music with Joanne Rand & Rob Diggins

7:00          Sue’s Organics Gourmet Dinner

7:30          Sempervirens Award Ceremony for Judi Bari

9:00          Alice DiMicele

10:00        Silent Auction Closes

10:15        Casey Neill & the Norway Rats

We will be serving up an organic locally sourced gourmet dinner catered by Humboldt County favorite, Sue’s Organics kitchen crew. Sue’s Organics began as a vegan catering business in Humboldt County, California. Their mission is to make the most delicious organic vegan combinations of dressings, sauces and food available to the community.

During dinner, we will be honoring the late Judi Bari with the Sempervirens Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of her renowned environmental, labor and social justice leadership. Bari’s

activism with Earth First! and philosophy of nonviolent protest set the tone for success of Redwood Summer and future direct action movements against corporate logging.

Judi Bari was far more than simply an environmentalist; she was an avid advocate for workers, and the rights of working people. In addition to being a prominent member of Earth First! Judi was also a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), and spent tremendous time and energy not only working to slow the destruction of the last of the old-growth redwoods, but also to organize and cooperate with timber and mill workers, many of whom knew and understood the consequences of the destruction of the forest would also mean an end to their jobs and way of life.

After the awards, we will have a throw back experience dancing on the ruins of multinational corporations with Casey Neill and the Norway Rats and Alice DiMicele.

CASEY NEILL AND THE NORWAY RATS

Casey Neill has been engaged with EPIC and the forest protection movement since the Headwaters era. The music of Casey Neill & The Norway Rats combines high energy rave-ups and haunting sonic reveries built around narrative songwriting. Their latest CD/LP “All You Pretty Vandals” garnered rave reviews from national press, online blogs, and widespread radio play. His songs are stories of American life, anthems for social change, and occasionally something about outer space. The Norway Rats are Chet Lyster (guitar), Kathryn Claire (fiddle), Jesse Emerson (bass) and Stuart Murray (drums). Casey Neill tours extensively throughout the US, Japan, and Europe with the band and solo. A new record ‘Subterrene’ is slated for release next year.

“Reclaiming tradition and social consciousness as weapons of resistance and tools for significant societal change, Neill appeals to our desire for collective experience, spinning touching and uplifting stories of hope, dignity and progressive politics. Be it through raucous rockers, fragile acoustic ballads, passionate bursts of punk fury or soulful touches of Irish folk, Neill’s narrative talent and concern for real people’s struggles stand out.” Marco Rivera, SPLENDID

 “I hear the passion in his singing” – Pete Seeger

ALICE DIMICLE

Alice DiMicele seeks to uplift the human experience through music. Her lyrics are love incantations to the elements earth, water, fire, and air. Drawing from a rich musical background including folk, jazz, funk, rock, and soul DiMicele’s acoustic music incorporates many styles creating a fresh funky stew all her own. With her powerful band behind her, or alone with her acoustic guitar Alice’s multi-octave voice soars high and rumbles deep. As a lyricist and singer DiMicele invokes passionate emotion.With thirteen self-released albums and almost 30 years of touring under her belt, DiMicele is a master of her craft and knows how to delight her audiences be it on a large festival stage, a theatre, or a house concert.

JOANNE RAND

Touring nationally for 30+ years playing original “Psychedelic-Folk-Revival” music, Joanne Rand has just released her 16th indie CD of original songs. Rand’s vocal styling is all her own: “magical and luxuriant, like the best brandy in the world” (-No Depression). Her songs have been called “Nothing short of brilliant,” by Santa Rosa Press Democrat. “Joanne Rand’s voice raises your hair. Elegance and fierceness in the same deep breath,” writes poet Gary Snyder. Rand’s 2015 & 2016 CDs both made the folk DJ most-played-list nationwide and are receiving worldwide airplay.

Born and bred in the Deep South, Rand has performed in Manhattan, L.A., Toronto, Atlanta, Seattle, Hawaii, Alaska & the Amazon. A North Bay readers’ poll once voted her “Best Acoustic Band.” Based in rural Northern California, with a BFA in music composition, she has performed alongside such greats as Bonnie Raitt, Micky Hart, John Hartford, John Trudell, Dougie McLean.

Rand’s songs reflects a wide array of styles (folk, rock, jazz, Celtic, psychedelic, gospel), weaving tales of: War, peace, loyalty, betrayal, hope and humor. “One of the year’s freshest, most distinctive offerings.”-Roots Music Report.

Rob Diggins will accompany Joanne Rand. Diggins is a principal violinist with the Portland Baroque Orchestra, Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra and San Francisco’s Magnificat and will be showing off his fusion, folk, world music and psychedelic rock chops as well as his classical virtuosity.

Volunteers are needed to help with the production of this event. If you are interested in getting involved, please email amber@wildcalifornia.org or call 707-822-7711.

 

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This year’s silent auction will be amazing! Come prepared to do your holiday shopping with all proceeds going to an important, effective and local cause that benefits wildlife and wild places.

We have rounded up a family trip to Disney Land with accommodations, original artwork, locally crafted products, gift baskets, Dandelion Herbal Center’s “Beginning with Herbs” course, overnight stays at Benbow Inn and Airbnb, artisan jewelry, leather masks, hand crafted ceramics, gift cards, redwood and paddle adventure tours and more!!

 

 

 

 

 


EPIC Urges Supervisors: No New Grows!

Thursday, October 12th, 2017
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EPIC is urging the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission to focus the county’s new cannabis land use ordinance on getting existing cannabis farms to comply with environmental regulations and enforcing against individuals who refuse to come into compliance, not expand growing by permitting new farms to out-of-area developers intent on getting rich from the green rush. Read EPIC’s letter to the Board of Supervisors.

It’s no secret: cannabis cultivation has caused significant environmental damage, from forest fragmentation, water theft and pollution, loss of wildlife habitat, and noise and light pollution. The vast majority of these impacts are coming from unpermitted operations. According to the County, only 8-13% of Humboldt’s cannabis farms have applied for a land use permit. Faced with such dramatic existing “background” cumulative effects, the county should not add to the problem by permitting new cultivators. Instead, the county should focus its resources on either getting existing operations to comply with our environmental regulations or take enforcement action.

EPIC remains committed to the principle that a well-regulated cannabis industry is best for our environment and community. The proposed land use regulations, if followed, will ensure that an individual operation will have a low impact on the environment, likely below that of other forms of agriculture.

More vigorous enforcement is on the way.

In August, the Board of Supervisors increased the Planning Department’s power to enforce against noncompliant operations. The Supervisors decreased the time between a notice of code violation and an abatement order, from 75 to ten days, as well as the Board’s approval of a drastically steeper fine schedule, with a total maximum fine increasing from $10,000 to $90,000. The County has already dramatically increased the number of employees in its Planning Department to process applications and to enforce against noncompliant operations. We are told that the County now has two employees whose job it is to review aerial imagery to look for noncompliant farms and to notify these operations that the County will begin enforcement against them.

 

 


Remembering David Nathan “Gypsy” Chain

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017
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Photo credit: Penny Andrews/ James Ficklin HAVOC

In the waning months of the Campaign to Save Headwaters Forest prior to the consummation of the March 1, 1999 Headwaters Forest Agreement, known among environmental activists of the time as “The Deal,” tensions between Pacific Lumber Company loggers, private security, and Earth First! forest defenders using their bodies to slow the logging of the old-growth redwoods were on edge. Over a decade of tension and conflict—punctuated by events like the Owl Creek Massacre, the massive non-violent civil disobedience actions of September 1995, 1996, and 1997, and the violent use of Q-tip swabbed pepper-spray in the eyes of immobilized Earth First! protesters by Humboldt County Sheriffs Office—had created a power-keg waiting only for a spark to ignite and fully explode.

That spark was eventually generated by a face-to-face conflict between timber fallers and Earth First! forest defenders. On September 17, 1998, David Nathan “Gypsy” Chain was killed when irate Pacific Lumber Company timber faller, A.E. Aemmons, cut  and felled a tree directly at a group of Earth First! forest defenders on a logging site above Grizzly Creek, adjacent to Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park.

Although video tape footage recorded by Earth First! forest defenders clearly showed the angry A.E. Aemmons verbally threatening to kill the forest defenders, then-Humboldt County District Attorney, Terry Farmer, refused to bring charges against the Pacific Lumber Company timber faller, threatening to file manslaughter charges against the forest defenders instead.

Soon after Gypsy’s death, it was revealed that the California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection had charged Pacific Lumber with at least 250 violations of the California Forest Practice Act between 1995 and 1997. These violations continued to accumulate in 1998, and in November of that year, Pacific Lumber became the first company ever to lose its logging license in California. Within less than six months, the Headwaters Forest Agreement between Charles Hurwitz’s MAXXAM Corporation and its subsidiary Pacific Lumber Company, and the State and Federal governments was signed, sealed, and delivered, transferring what is now the 7,500-acre Headwaters Forest Reserve into public ownership for the price-tag of $480 million.

To the surprise of no one, the MAXXAM Corporation eventually ran Pacific Lumber into the ground, and by 2008, PALCO had filed for bankruptcy, marking the close of nearly two decades of protests and conflict between environmentalists and the company.

Gypsy, only 24-years-old, found his way to the California redwoods all the way from Texas, and like so many of us, was captivated by the majesty of the redwood forest, but heartbroken by its ongoing destruction. The hillsides above Grizzly Creek where Gypsy was killed were an important connectivity corridor and buffer between Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park, and old-growth redwood on then-Pacific Lumber Company property that has since been acquired by the State and added to the park. Like so many of the places at-risk in the MAXXAM-era old-growth liquidation logging days at Pacific Lumber, Grizzly Creek was a lesser-known and out-of-the-way place that remained on the chopping block until an option for purchase was included in the Headwaters Forest Agreement by the California State Legislature at the 11th hour.

This September 17, 2017, commemorated the 19-year anniversary of Gypsy’s death. March 1, 2017, marked the 18-year anniversary of the creation of the Headwaters Forest Reserve. On September 17th, EPIC sponsored and led a hike into what is now the Headwaters Forest Reserve on the Salmon Pass Trail, accessed via the Newburg Gate in Fortuna, once the site of massive demonstrations against the destruction of Headwaters, in honor of the memory of David Nathan “Gypsy” Chain. 17 local citizens joined the three-mile loop hike, which includes a traverse through a patch of remaining old-growth redwood now spared from the destructive MAXXAM-era Pacific Lumber Company chainsaws, but many of which still bare the scar of the blue-paint-stripe mark that signified the logger’s intent to cut.

Thanks to David Nathan “Gypsy” Chain and the thousands of others who came to northern California from all over the country and the world to protest the destruction of the last remaining old-growth redwoods on private lands, there today stands a Headwaters Forest Reserve, inside which stand many trees that would have otherwise surely fallen for repayment of junk-bond debt.

This article was published in the EcoNews.


EPIC Honors Judi Bari with Sempervirens Award

Thursday, October 5th, 2017
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Judi Bari Headwaters Rally San Francisco 1995. ©2016 Greg King

EPIC is honored to present the 2017 Sempervirens Lifetime Achievement Award to Judi Bari at the Fall Celebration, held November 3 at the Mateel Community Center. EPIC will present the award to her daughters, Jessica and Lisa, in recognition of Judi Bari’s renowned environmental, labor and social justice leadership.

You are cordially invited to celebrate 40 years of innovative forest advocacy and wildlife protection at EPIC’s Fall Celebration on Friday, November 3rd at the Mateel Community Center in Redway, CA. We are very pleased to present performances by musical activists and longtime EPIC friends Casey Neill and the Norway Rats, Alice DiMicele and Joanne Rand. Dinner will be expertly crafted courtesy of Sue’s Organics, and will feature our annual silent auction, which is sure to be full of enticing items. Celebrating 40 years of cutting edge forest advocacy in one night will not be easy, but we hope to take you on a trip down memory lane to the roots of the North Coast environmental movement as we honor of all the supporters, volunteers, and activists who helped make it possible!

Judi Bari was far more than simply an environmentalist—she was an avid advocate for workers and the rights of working people. In addition to being a prominent member of Earth First!, Judi was also a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), and spent tremendous time and energy working not only to slow the destruction of the last standing old-growth redwoods, but also to organize and cooperate with timber and mill workers. Through her work, Judi expanded the movement, bringing greater understanding of how the destruction of the forest would also impact timber workers future employment and way of life. Bari’s efforts to humanize both environmentalists and timber workers benefitted the movement, and created a more holistic understanding of the complexities of the Redwood Summer.

Judi, along with Daryl Cherney, was the major impetus behind the 1990 season of non-violent civil disobedience along the redwood coast of Northern California. Drawing inspiration from the iconic “Freedom Summer,” our “Redwood Summer” sought to slow the destruction of the last remaining old-growth redwood forest utilizing peaceful direct action—all while groups like EPIC and others used the courts and political venues to forward redwood conservation. Famously, while on a road tour to promote Redwood Summer in 1990, a pipe-bomb exploded in the backseat of the car being driven by Judi and Daryl while the two were preparing for a show in Oakland, CA.

The wounds suffered by Judi Bari as a consequence of the pipe-bomb and complications therefrom would eventually claim Judi’s life in 1997. On March 1, 1999, the Headwaters Forest Agreement, which most pejoratively referred to as, “The Deal,” was consummated between MAXXAM Corporation, who controlled Pacific Lumber Company, the U.S. Government and the State of California, transferring 7,500-acres of what is today the Headwaters Forest Reserve into public ownership, effectively marking the end of the so-called “Timber Wars” that marred our forests and divided our communities for nearly two decades.

Although Judi did not survive to see the creation of the Headwaters Forest Reserve, she lives in spirit through the Headwaters Forest Preserve. On June 19, 2015, a plaque and dedication with the planting of 200 trees took place in Headwaters at “Visionaries Grove,” a place dedicated to the hard work, sacrifice, and visionary inspiration of all who fought to protect Headwaters Forest. Today, the Headwaters Forest Reserve stands as a critical refugia for threatened and endangered fish and wildlife, and also as a critical landscape where restoration from the decades of destructive MAXXXAM/Pacific Lumber logging is being driven forward. Headwaters also stands as testament to Judi Bari and her tireless spirit.

EPIC is honored to award Judi Bari with the 2017 Sempervirens Lifetime Achievement Award, and is honored to celebrate Judi and her enduring legacy and spirit on this, our 40th anniversary. As we look back, we also keep our eyes ever-forward as we continue to push for better and more responsible forestry practices on private and public lands. Far from being too old, EPIC is just getting warmed up! Please come join us and help us celebrate our past, present, and future!

 

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Crisis and the Timber Industry

Thursday, October 5th, 2017
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“Never let a good crisis go to waste.” This is the mantra of the Timber Industry in fire season. Although this summer’s fires are just about out, the Timber industry and its friends in Congress are already pushing forward a radical agenda to wipe away federal environmental laws and drastically increase the cut.

Let’s take a closer look at the Timber Industry spin machine works to exploit forest fires.

First, create a crisis.

It is like clockwork—every year, there will be a fire in the West. Regardless of the fire, the Timber Industry PR team is in quick response, filling local op-ed pages with hyperbolic headlines and news stories with breathless quotes. Employing highly charged language, the Timber Industry will describe how a fire “ravaged,” “destroyed,” and “decimated” the forest, leaving a dead and devoid “moonscape” behind. No matter what, a fire will be called “catastrophic.” You can almost set your watch to it.

But it works.

The American public is deeply afraid of forest fires. This fear is justifiable. Homes burn down and lives are lost. Fires are tough to live with, as evidenced by the massively bad smoke conditions this year—even coastal Humboldt County was not spared.

But fire, including high-severity fire, is a natural forest disturbance. In its wake, a high-severity fire doesn’t leave ruin, but new birth. Forest fires—even some of the “mega” fires—are not abnormal. Charcoal records and early recorded accounts demonstrate that large and hot fires predated European colonization.

(Don’t forget that the Timber Industry can supply the “crisis,” too. 84% of forest fires are started by humans, such as the Minerva fire that forced the evacuation of Quincy, CA, started by an employee of Sierra Pacific Industries, or the Moonlight fire, caused by Sierra Pacific Industries’ negligent hiring and supervision of a logging contractor, or the most recent Helena Fire that burned the town of Junction City.)

Second, blame the other guys.

After over sensationalizing the fire, the Timber Industry looks to point blame at their mortal foes: environmental groups and endangered species. They claim that groups like EPIC put too many handcuffs on the timber industry from logging. In this world view, all forests are just fuels. As one catchy (but misinformed) slogan puts it, “Log it, graze it, or watch it burn.” In truth, the Timber Industry is to blame for much of the current condition.

Many forests are more dense than “reference conditions,” points in the past against which we can measure. But that’s largely because natural forest stands have been clear-cut and replaced by tree plantations. These tree plantations are the ones most likely to burn the hottest, as they are dense and have a uniform crown (instead of a staggered crown more typical of a native forest.)

The Timber Industry also promotes a culture of fire suppression. The Timber Industry sees forests as money, and fires as putting their money at risk. For that reason, there is no greater champion of the military fire industrial complex than the timber industry.


Stinky Zinke

Thursday, October 5th, 2017
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On National Public Lands Day, September 30, 2017, EPIC held a renaming ceremony to rename all vault toilets on federal public lands “Zinkes” after Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, in recognition of the crappy way he is treating our public lands. Secretary Zinke is a bad dude. In a leaked memo to President Trump, Secretary Zinke recommended removing protections from 10 National Monuments, including our own Cascade Siskiyou National Monument. Why? Because Big Oil and Big Timber want to be able to drill and log these areas.

We encourage all of our members to take up the name. For example, you can say, “Wow, that’s a stinky Zinke,” upon encountering a particularly smelly toilet. Or before hitting the trail, you can tell your hiking partner, “Hold on, I need to hit the Zinke.” Or, if the Zinke is nearing capacity, you can let someone know, “That Zinke is full of crap.”

The name is already catching on! Our renaming ceremony was picked up by national media, including Steve Bannon’s Breitbart “news” service. Viva la toilet humor!

Activists Name Public Toilet After Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in Protest – Breitbart

Environmental groups name toilet after Interior Secretary in public lands protest – Eureka Times Standard

Humboldt Environmentalists Hold Unofficial Ceremony to Rename Vault Toilets After Trump’s Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, Encourage Public to Take a “Stinky Zinke” In His Honor – Lost Coast Outpost