EPIC and the Sierra Club v. CDF and Pacific Lumber (The Hole in the Headwaters)

EPIC and the Sierra Club v. CDF and Pacific Lumber (The Hole in the Headwaters)

2000

As part of the Headwaters Deal, Pacific Lumber received forestlands to the north of Headwaters Grove, including a 1,000-acre “island” entirely surrounded by the Headwaters Reserve. Now known as the “Hole in Headwaters,” this area contains the only mature forest adjacent to the ancient redwoods of the reserve as well as one of the most important watersheds for wild Coho salmon.

This case was filed to challenge changes that Pacific Lumber made to a 705 acre logging plan located within the Hole in Headwaters, such as helicopter yarding and the use of an unstable road, without allowing for public or agency review. We succeeded in receiving a Preliminary Injunction on July 10, 2000, but were stunned when the visiting judge required that we post a $250,000 bond to keep the injunction in place until trial. The changes Pacific Lumber made to the logging plan were originally submitted as a minor amendment, which does not allow for public or agency review. As a result of our lawsuit, the company submitted the changes in the form of a major amendment, and this provided an opportunity for the Regional Water Quality Control Board and others to review the plan and led to a precedent-setting water quality monitoring order being issued. Tragically, however, it did not ultimately save the trees in the area, and logging commenced on October 23, 2001.

The case was originally filed on March 10, 2000, and we moved for a preliminary injunction on June 8, 2000. The PI was granted on July 10, 2000, and was appealed soon after by Pacific Lumber. We filed a motion to dismiss the case with the trial court in April 2001 and a motion to dismiss Pacific Lumber’s appeal of the PI with the Appellate Court based on mootness since the major amendment had been submitted. On August 8, 2001, the appeals court dismissed PL’s appeal of the PI. EPIC was represented in this case by Sharon Duggan and Paul Carroll.