Posts by Tom Wheeler

Clever Gov’t Tricks Undercut Marten Protections

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018
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Last week was bittersweet. On Friday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed listing the Humboldt marten as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. I should have been thrilled—this was the culmination of eight years work and one successful lawsuit—but instead I was infuriated. Through a crafty trick, the Service cut a big hole in the protections for the marten, perpetuating some of the same threats which are forcing the marten to extinction. Here’s how the Service sided with the timber industry to sell out the Humboldt marten. As a warning: this might get somewhat wonky.


EPIC Fail: Oregon Denies Protection for Gravely Imperiled Humboldt Martens

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018
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On September 14, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission voted to deny state Endangered Species Act protection to the fewer than 200 Humboldt martens estimated to remain in the state. Once again, Oregon proves that it is a few steps behind California when it comes to conservation policy.


Murrelets in Monument Ridge Wind Farm?

Monday, September 24th, 2018
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It was a cold and blustery morning at the top of Monument Ridge. EPIC staff were in the field to investigate a proposed wind project, between 45-70 turbines churning out 135 megawatts of power, and their potential impacts to the marbled murrelet. The murrelet, a seabird that lays its eggs on oldgrowth branches, is threatened with extinction because most of its habitat has been logged. Although this project would not cut any murrelet nest trees, the project could still endanger the bird by killing birds as they commute between their inland nest sites and the ocean, where they feed.


Gypsy Remembered

Monday, September 24th, 2018
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This month is the 20th anniversary of the death of David Nathan “Gypsy” Chain, a forest activist killed by a tree felled by a logger employed by the Pacific Lumber Company. This sad anniversary offers a moment for reflection—on the gains extracted by activists like Gypsy, and on the battles not yet won.


Green Diamond HCP

Thursday, August 9th, 2018
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Green Diamond does it again! The company has gotten another sweetheart deal that allows them to clearcut with impunity, once again proving that the rules don’t apply to the big boys. Previously we reported on a deal struck with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife that would exempt the company from protections for the Humboldt marten. Today’s story is similar: the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has just released a draft Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) that would allow Green Diamond to clearcut more northern spotted owl habitat than otherwise permitted in exchange for a promise to shoot barred owls. We think this deal stinks.


Martens Need Your Support August 23 in Fortuna!

Thursday, August 9th, 2018
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Take Action Now! The Department of Fish and Wildlife has recommended that the Humboldt marten be listed as “endangered” under the California Endangered Species Act. This is huge news and the culmination of over three years of work by EPIC. (Phew!)


Green Diamond Strikes “Killer” Agreement for Martens

Monday, July 23rd, 2018
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Despite the recent spate of good news for the Humboldt marten—California is recommending they be listed under the California Endangered Species Act, EPIC petitioned to list the critter under the Oregon Endangered Species Act, and EPIC has filed a rulemaking petition to prohibit marten trapping in coastal Oregon—we have some major bad news to report. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has given a permit to Green Diamond Resource Company that would make marten recovery much more difficult. Under the so called “Safe Harbor Agreement,” Green Diamond only has to make minimal changes to its forest practices to get around the teeth of the California Endangered Species Act.


Run for the Board of Directors!

Tuesday, July 10th, 2018
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EPIC is your organization. You fund it – 62% of our budget was from our members in 2017—and you govern it by electing the Board of Directors. The EPIC Board of Directors is charged with ensuring that the good ship EPIC is well-equipped, pointed in the right direction, and fortified against stormy seas of financial turmoil. EPIC’s made it for 41 years because of committed volunteers willing to share their skills and services on the Board.


New Wind Farm on the Horizon

Tuesday, July 10th, 2018
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A new wind company blows into town. A new wind farm is being proposed just south of Scotia, along Monument Ridge. The project is near Bear River Ridge, the site of a proposed wind farm that generated considerable local opposition and was pulled by its developer, Shell Oil Company, in 2012. The land in question is under private ownership, with a considerable portion owned by Humboldt Redwood Company and managed for timber production, and the other portion is owned by a single ranching family.


Breaking: EPIC at Work to Protect Oregon’s Humboldt Martens

Tuesday, June 26th, 2018
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EPIC, together with our friends at the Center for Biological Diversity, Cascadia Wildlands, Defenders of Wildlife, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, and Oregon Wild, have filed a petition with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to protect the Humboldt marten under the Oregon Endangered Species Act. This is fresh off the heels of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife recommending that the species be listed as “endangered” under California’s Endangered Species Act.


Breaking News! State Recommends Marten Listing as Endangered

Thursday, June 21st, 2018
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Big news this morning: the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has recommended listing the Humboldt marten as “endangered” under the California Endangered Species Act. This is HUGE news for the marten, which is struggling to survive because of low population numbers and increasing threats from logging and climate change. Additional protections may be the key to prevent this charming critter from having to write its last will and testament.


Pruitt Declares Biomass Carbon Neutral, Contrary to Facts

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018
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In a world no longer constrained by facts, Scott Pruitt is king. On April 23, 2018, Scott Pruit, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency declared that all biomass is carbon neutral. Pruitt’s sweeping declaration is not just inaccurate, but it will help further subsidize timber industry practices at the expense of our climate and our wallets.


Last Chance Grade Project Update

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018
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The Redwood Highway, also known as Highway 101, is the main north-south arterial connection for North Coast residents and visitors alike. “Last Chance Grade” is a stretch of Highway 101 about ten miles south of Crescent City, which sits precariously above the Pacific Ocean. Built on an active landslide, the road has steadily slipped towards the Pacific Ocean, including a fairly substantial road failure in winter in 2017. In many areas, the road is no longer in its original alignment, having slipped further down the slope. The area that has experienced the greatest movement has moved 40’ horizontally and 30’ vertically so far. The question is not if the road will fail, but when and how badly.


EPIC in Court (Again) to Defend Richardson Grove

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018
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EPIC was back in court on March 28th to defend Richardson Grove against Caltrans’ effort to dismiss our most recent state lawsuit, filed last summer in Humboldt County Superior Court. (For more on our older but currently ongoing state lawsuit, click here.) Once again, the courtroom was packed to the gills with supporters of the Grove. And, once again, our longtime attorney, Sharon Duggan, put on a great show for supporters.


EPIC Petitions to Ban Humboldt Marten Trapping in Oregon

Wednesday, April 4th, 2018
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On April 4th, EPIC and four sister conservation organizations filed a rulemaking petition asking the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to ban trapping of Humboldt martens in Oregon’s coastal forests. The petition follows a new study that found that trapping could easily wipe out the species in the state.


Richardson Grove in Court: Supporters Needed!

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
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Where will you be on March 28th?

Come show your support! EPIC and allies will be back in court on March 28th in Eureka at 1:45, defending our most recent case filed in the Humboldt County Superior Court. We should be in Courtroom 4, but due to a shortage of courtrooms, we might get moved on the day of. Please check the directory by the elevators to determine the correct courtroom.


Richardson Grove Fight Goes to Court

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018
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On Tuesday, EPIC and allies were back in court to stop the highway expansion through the ancient redwoods of Richardson Grove State Park. Richardson Grove supporters packed the courtroom—an overflow-sized crowd that made the bailiff nervous and the judge pay attention. (Thank you for your help! It was so inspiring to see so many passionate community members. <3 <3 <3)


It’s Official: Humboldt County Opposes Offshore Oil Drilling!

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018
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We are a forest group, but sometimes we get moved to work on issues a little outside of our normal stomping grounds. In January, Interior Secretary Zinke proposed issuing 47 new offshore oil leases—including two from Mendocino to Del Norte. The thought of oil derricks off our shore (and oil spilling onto our coast) moved EPIC to act!


Government Delays a Bad Sign for Humboldt Marten

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018
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The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is playing political games with the Humboldt marten. The Department is holding up the listing of the critically endangered Humboldt marten. Why? Because it wants to blunt the impact of the listing on the timber industry by fast tracking a “Safe Harbor Agreement.”We expect this level of chicanery when dealing with the federal government, but we are sorely disappointed when it comes from the Brown Administration.


Hey, Governor Brown, EPIC’s Here to Help!

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018
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In his final State of the State address, Governor Brown highlighted the need for reforms to how California’s forests are managed and directed the creation of a “task force composed of scientists and knowledgeable forest practitioners to review thoroughly the way our forests are managed and suggest ways to reduce the threat of devastating fires.…[and] consider how California can increase resiliency and carbon storage capacity.”