If someone broke into your home and started removing the furniture and emptying the cupboards, you might feel annoyed. What if they started breaking down the walls and putting holes in the roof? It would be within your rights to confront the intruder and defend your home.
The billionaire timber baron, Red Emmerson, and his company, Sierra Pacific Industries, are destroying thousands of acres of suitable habitat for the Northern Spotted Owl across five counties of Northern California. Spotted owls are losing their homes and dying as a result.
Because spotted owls cannot defend themselves from this onslaught by the chainsaws and tractors of Sierra Pacific Industries, EPIC has stepped up to speak for the owl by launching a new campaign. EPIC recently delivered a formal “notice of intent to sue” letter to Sierra Pacific Industries for harming Northern Spotted Owls in violation of the federal Endangered Species Act. The notice letter is required under the law and begins a process that allows EPIC to file a lawsuit after a period of 60 days. By clearcut logging within known spotted owl territories, the company is engaged in openly hostile actions against individual spotted owls and their young, seemingly designed to eliminate the owl from its lands. Billionaire Emmerson is listed by Forbes as having a net worth of at least two and half billion dollars. As California’s largest private landowner, Sierra Pacific owns nearly two million acres of forestlands, with over 200,000 acres within the range of the Northern Spotted Owl.
Between 2009 and 2011 alone, Sierra Pacific’s submitted plans for logging that threaten to destroy over 5,500 acres of suitable habitat within known spotted owl territories. Sierra Pacific is currently operating without an approved “take” permit that is required under the law for supervising industrial activities within a protected species habitat. Instead, Sierra Pacific is operating outside of the law and engaging in the systematic liquidation of spotted owl habitat. If necessary, EPIC is prepared to take Sierra Pacific to court to stop these atrocious acts.
However, the imminent lawsuit is entirely avoidable, if only Sierra Pacific plays by the rules just like so many responsible forest landowners throughout our region. Numerous logging companies and smaller landowners have approved owl conservation plans that secure protections for spotted owls and other species, while still allowing for the sustainable harvest of timber. Why does a billionaire need to kill spotted owls? It simply makes no sense. At EPIC, we believe that California’s largest landowner, billionaire timber baron Red Emmerson, owes it to everyone to protect the spotted owl.
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