EPIC v. CDF and Pacific Lumber (Sustained Yield Plan)

EPIC v. CDF and Pacific Lumber (Sustained Yield Plan)

1999

Much of 1998 and 1999 was taken up in fighting over the exorbitant cost of the administrative record, originally $32,000. This cost was ultimately reduced and redistributed amongst parties and the case moved forward.

As part of the Headwaters deal, California state officials approved a 120-year sustained yield plan (SYP), a 50-year incidental take permit for the Marbled Murrelet and other state-level permits for the Pacific Lumber Company. On March 31, 1999, EPIC and the Sierra Club challenged these plans and permits in Sacramento County Superior Court. The suit alleges that state officials erred in approving the SYP because there has been insufficient analysis of the cumulative effects of liquidating tens of thousands of acres of mature forest over the next two decades. In addition, the suit alleges that the Murrelet take permit, which allows quick destruction of several thousand acres of ancient forest habitat, also failed to meet standards for approval. Finally, the suit challenges a five-year streambed alteration agreement providing blanket permission for watercourse crossings, water diversions and other activities impacting streams on Pacific Lumber property.

The case was transferred to Humboldt County in October 1999. On October 8, 1999 EPIC received an exorbitant bill from the state for costs incurred in preparing the administrative record for the case. Without prior consultation, the state chose to prepare a digital version of the vast administrative record of the Headwaters deal, custom designed for both the litigation software used by state lawyers, and, more significantly, the legal requirements of the defense team.

A Humboldt County judge heard our objections to the calculation and apportionment of the costs on December 10, 1999 and issued a ruling May 10, 2000 somewhat reducing the costs for EPIC and its co-plaintiff.