Coalition of Environmental Groups Call for Ouster of Appointee from State Forestry Board

Coalition of Environmental Groups Call for Ouster of Appointee from State Forestry Board

August 29, 2009

For more information, please contact: Scott Greacean or Natalynne DeLapp, EPIC, 707-822-7711

Arcata, CA–A coalition of 14 environmental organizations and fishery groups, led by the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC), are urging the California State Senate to reject timber industry official James Ostrowski’s reappointment to the State Board of Forestry (BOF).

Mr. Ostrowski is the timberland manager for the Timber Products Company of Mt. Shasta. His confirmation hearing was originally scheduled for August 24th, but was recently postponed with no new hearing date scheduled. In a letter to Senate Rules Committee Chair Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), the coalition complained that Ostrowski and his forest industry colleagues on the Board have been unwilling to reform state logging rules that state and federal biologists say harm salmon habitat.

The letter says Ostrowski and the Board have made preservation of the regulatory status quo for timber companies their sole concern (copy of the August 18 letter to Sen. Steinberg attached).

“Salmon populations are plummeting all along the West Coast,” said Natalynne DeLapp, a policy analyst for EPIC. “Logging practices allowed under existing state forestry rules degrade salmon habitat and are significant factor for these declines. Our salmon fisheries are in crisis! Mr. Ostrowski’s and the board’s unwillingness to reform these logging practices is misplaced and totally unacceptable.”

In July 2008, the Sierra Club, California Trout and EPIC petitioned the Board to adopt emergency regulations to address logging operations within watersheds containing remnant Coho salmon populations. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) publicly supported this petition, but the Board of Forestry, including Mr. Ostrowski, rejected it.

In June 2009, logging rules adopted by the Board in 2007 to address “incidental take” of Coho salmon were thrown out by the Superior Court in San Francisco.