Archive for October, 2012

EPIC Takes on Logging Pollution at the U.S. Supreme Court

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

On October 23, 2012, EPIC joined conservation allies in filing an amicus brief before the U.S. Supreme Court in a case involving pollution from logging roads.  In this long running battle over logging pollution that chokes streams and salmon, EPIC has been at the forefront in advancing the law.  Nearly a decade ago, EPIC successfully EPIC successfully enforced the Clean Water Act against the Pacific Lumber Company in Bear Creek, a tributary of the Eel River.

In this latest episode, EPIC is supporting allies in the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies in their fight against logging pollution.  The Northwest Environmental Defense Center represented by the Washington Forest Law Center, following EPIC’s legal precedent, was successful in enforcing the Clean Water Act against the State of Oregon.  The State and the timber industry appealed the decision to Supreme Court.  The stakes are high, and the decision from the Supreme Court will have far reaching implications about whether logging road pollution will finally be sufficiently addressed.  In addition, there is an ongoing rulemaking proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency where EPIC again joined allies in submitting powerful comments.

EPIC is represented by attorneys Sharon Duggan and Mike Lozeau.  EPIC was joined by the Sierra Club, Waterkeeper Alliance, Wildlands CPR, Alliance for Wild Rockies, Rogue Riverkeeper and Puget Soundkeeper Alliance.

2012 Sempervirens Award Celebrates Defender of World’s Temperate Rainforests

Friday, October 26th, 2012

Ancient Forest International founder Rick Klein is the recipient of the 2012 Sempervirens Award

The presentation of the Richard Gienger Sempervirens Award for Lifetime Achievement has become a time-honored tradition within the Fall Celebration of the Environmental Protection Information Center. Past recipients of the award have included Karen Pickett of the Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters, Patty Clary of Californians for Alternatives to Toxics, artist-activists David Simpson and Jane Lapiner, Richard Gienger, EPIC’s forest advocate and restoration policy expert, and last years recipient, film-maker and environmental troubadour Darryl Cherney. The EPIC Sempervirens Award truly has become something of an authentic, albeit idiosyncratic, hall-of-fame recognition for North Coast forest and wilderness defenders.

Thus, the board and staff of EPIC are proud to announce that this years winner is Rick Klein! Rick helped found the seminal global temperate rainforest protection organization, Ancient Forest International (AFI), after years of key contributions to environmental defense at home in the Redwood Region of California.  The selection of Rick as the recipient of the 2012 Sempervirens Award is a recognition of the global significance of our home redwood temperate rainforest ecosystem. Through his role in directing AFI, Rick participated in the protection of hundreds of thousands of acres of Valdivian Temperate Rainforest in Southern Chile, an accomplishment that highlighted the exceptional natural and spiritual values of the worlds temperate rainforests, and held up a mirror to the equally significant and history making efforts that Rick supported for the ancient redwoods at home in Northwest California.

The presentation of the 2012 Sempervirens Award to Rick Klein will be a feature of the program at EPIC’s 35th Anniversary Fall Celebration on Friday, Nov. 2, at the Mateel Community Center in Redway. Tickets are selling fast and are available on line, at Wildberries and the EPIC office in Arcata, and Redway Liquors in Southern Humboldt.

To get ready for the big show, we were able have Rick on the EPIC Edition of the KMUD Environment Show, and then we also had a moment to catch up with Rick and get his insight about his work, the value of cathedral forests, and the importance of supporting EPIC.

–What is your earliest memory of EPIC? Any inspired stories? Any funny stories?

On the Phun Bus with PB and the SFP, Ruthanne, OB, Woods, Alison, Tom Hayden, the Land Trust on our way to Sacramento for the 2-4-D (herbicide) hearings in 1975. We stopped into a cafe. the waitress shouted “We don’t serve hippies!” “That’s OK honey,” said Alison “cause we don’t eat em.” Also dumping fish emulsion in the helicopter at the airport.

–What is a Cathedral Forest? Why are ancient forests essential to humans and our physical and spiritual wellbeing?

A forest that rises all around you, supporting the distant sky with immense millenial columns…these are groves of solace…inspirational living cathedrals that today, practically speaking, nearly no one on Earth is able to experience.

–What can we in Redwood Country most learn from our mirror rainforest region in Southern Chile?

Any place that is home to the oldest and largest organisms in known creation has to have something going for it. The greenhouses of the Goddesses. It so happens that only at 40 degrees North latitude and at 40 degrees South, where the shore of the western hemisphere breaks into hundreds of misty isles and fjords, do the most ancient of forests and trees, live. Chile has protected their monarchs from logging. Can’t we, who are supposedly richer and wiser than the rest, not protect our titans also? There’s only one percent left for God’s sake.

–With Ancient Forest International you have been involved with major conservation transactions in Chile, Ecuador, and California that have resulted in the protection of millions of acres of wild ancient forest. What is your advice to a person who is just now getting motivated to contribute to saving wildlands?

AFI’s motto is “In order to get largesse you must kiss largeass”…no, seriously…the first step in any wildlands acquisition strategy is to fall in love with the place you seek to protect. Then identify funders who target or support your chosen area. But the very first advice I ever got from a funder was: “people fund people…not projects!”  That’s really true. Your passion must be credible. It’s a sales job.  Of course the best, most effective, is to take the funder there to the place you are working to protect.

–What was your experience the first time you were really taken in by the majesty of the Redwoods in our bioregion?

In 1968 our commune, fresh from Minnesota in a big white psychedelic school bus, ate mushrooms in Rockefeller Forest, and we were never the same forever. “Living Trees! Wow!”

–Can you look back with satisfaction and say that you made a difference, that you contributed something that helped save some corner of wild earth from the relentless hunger of global development?  Do you have any regrets?

Well, yes, I suppose I can…but the pride is in helping to build the coalition, the international team of impassioned activists who each and all were effective in their respective worlds. My regret is in not pushing harder for the ultimate realization of the Gondwana Sanctuary Project to legally declare all forests below 40 south latitude off limits to exploitation…just like the Whale Sanctuary. We had the alliances all in place.  Ministers and  NGO’s from Tasmania, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Chile, Argentina, the US, England had all signed on. It was a huge effort, but the principles were simply worn-out, exhausted. Realizing a project is a long slogging haul, sometimes, and you just have to be prepared to put aside your life.

–What does it mean to you to win the Sempervirens award?

It is so truly humbling. I mean there are dozens and dozens of more deserving people. I quess they’ll just have to get old, like me. But to be among the awardees so far – Sharon, Cecelia, Patty Clary, Karen Picket, Lynn Ryan, Richard,  Woods…true tireless warriors. What can you say?

–Last thoughts?

Ted Williams used to say “If you don’t think too good don’t think too much.” Just make your activism an adventure, an impassioned trip. Nature favors bold beginnings and will supply you with an excellent  team. Invite the world in. Be positive. You’ll win.

And remember, if you can’t, right now all alone, save that place or be that adventurer…then support one who will.

Thanks Rick for your words, and your support of EPIC. We are inspired to share this moment for recognizing your inspiration and your compass in understanding our responsibility to work for wild nature.

Be sure to come out Friday, Nov. 2nd to the EPIC 35th Anniversary Fall Celebration at the Mateel Community Center in Redway!

Don’t forget, EPIC will be holding 2 membership meetings seperate from the Fall Celebration this year:

  • Saturday, November 10th 2012 at Persimmons Garden Gallery in Redway from 12:00pm-2:00pm.
  • Friday, December 7th at the EPIC Office in Arcata from 5:00pm-8:00pm.

Sempervirens Lifetime Achievment Award Recipients
•    2001 Cecelia Lanman
•    2002 Fred “Coyote” Downy
•    2003 Lynn Ryan
•    2004 Patty Clary
•    2005 Karen Pickett
•    2006 Robert “Man Who Walks In The Woods” Sutherland, Ruthanne Cecil, Marylee By The River
•    2007 David Simpson & Jane Lapiner
•    2008 Sharon Duggan
•    2009 Trees Foundation
•    2010 Richard Gienger
•    2011 Darryl Cherney
•    2012 Rick Klein

35th Anniversary Celebration

Friday, October 26th, 2012

Join us for our 35th Anniversary Fall Celebration Friday November 2nd at the Mateel Community Center in Redway!

*Featuring the vibrant and high-energy band Delhi 2 Dublin!

*With an Indian-themed feast created and served by Tryphena Lewis, including specialty cocktails, fine regional wines and beers and after-dinner drinks- see below!

*Silent auction offering original art, getaways, gift baskets & more!-see below

*The 2012 Richard Gienger Sempervirens Award for lasting achievement in environmental advocacy presented to Rick Klein, wildlands explorer, conservation strategist, and defender of cathedral forests.

Purchase your tickets here to be part of the festivities. Tickets are $50 adults /children under 12 free, and include dinner, award presentation and concert.  (Please Note: There is limited seating capacity for dinner. This portion of the event sells out every year.) Doors open at 5:30pm.

Purchase your tickets here for an amazing show and dance celebration! Tickets are $25 for the Delhi 2 Dublin concert. Doors open to the general public at 9pm.

Hard-copy tickets are available at: Wildberries Marketplace in Arcata, Redway Liquor, or at the EPIC Office (145 G Street Arcata).

If you are unable to attend please consider a tax-deductible donation to EPIC.

Please Support our Event Sponsors, which include, but are not limited to: ??Wildberries Marketplace, Eureka Natural Foods, Chautauqua Natural Foods, Laganitas Brewery, Lost Coast Brewery, Frey Winery, Mad River Brewery, Arcata Exchange, Baroni Design, Fire and Light, Holly Yashi, Morning Star, Organic Grace, Ship Wreck, Signature Coffee, & Violet Green Winery.

Delhi 2 Dublin

So what does Dehli 2 Dublin sound like?

“Well, they sound like what you would expect from a group who describes themselves as playing Delhi and Dublin fusion music—electric sitar, Celtic fiddle, electronic mixing, reggae, Punjabi and English vocals and a whole bunch of percussion on the likes of the tabla and dhol.”—Melophobe

Delhi 2 Dublin is non-stop world beat energy, a multi-cultural dance celebration. Where else can you see a purple-haired fiddle player rocking out with a kilt-wearing Korean flanked by two bouncing bhangra percussionists and a vocalist who looks like he would be at home in a Bollywood music video? This is a live performance that is all about energy.

The Delhi 2 Dublin crew are road warriors. They have played major festivals in both Canada and the U.S. including Gaia, Earthdance, High Sierra and the California World Festival. A new album, Turn Up the Stereo and international touring opportunities all signal that originality and evolution are all part of the Delhi 2 Dublin experience.

A Taste of the Indian-themed Feast!

Awaken your appetite with savory samosas topped with spiced chutney, followed by:

An Indian Thali Platter with Chicken Tikka Masala (optional), Palak Paneer (spinach & cheese), Chana Dal (curried lentils & spices), Aloo Gobi (potatoes, cauliflower & curried vegetables), Saffron Basmati Rice, Raita (cucumber salad) and Spiced Chutney (Indian relish)

(All dinner dishes are gluten free; vegetarian and vegan except for chicken tikka masala and palak paneer—vegan substitutes available)

Tempting desserts: Gulab Jamun—an Indian specialty! Rich, soft & fluffy dough that melts in the mouth with oozing rose sugar syrup, Peach Cobbler, Berry Crisp, Chocolate Amaretto Cheesecake and Pear Cheesecake with cracked salt & balsamic vinegar

Specialty Cocktails: Classic Margarita, Dark & Stormy, Vodka & Gin Spritzers, Irish Whiskey, Guiness, Hard Apple Cider, Irish Coffee & Tawny Port.

Extensive Silent Auction!

This year we have an excellent silent auction! Plan on doing some holiday shopping with 100% of all proceeds going to support EPIC.

Some of our featured silent auction items include:

  • Getaways to Harbin & Orr Hot Springs, Benbow Inn and Shaw House Inn Bed and Breakfast and Sauna Where You Wanna
  • Herbal Gift Baskets from Moonrise Herbs, Greta Montagne, Michelle Palazzo, Nieves, Harmonic Botanicals, Soul to Soul Spa
  • Art by Mark Hensen, Shanna Trumbly, Brian Allison, Joyce Jonte, Monica Star, Fire and Light & The Glass Station
  • Jewelry from Baroni, Holly Yashi, Isara Designs, Stone Fever, Earth Stones
  • Tons of awesome Clothing, Candles, Trinket and Gift Certificates from your favorite local shops
  • 2 Season Passes for Dell’ Arte
  • 6x8ft Juta Natural Fiber Area Rug
  • Yoga, massage & pilates classes

For more information please contact EPIC at 707-822-7711.

Click here to become a member of EPIC today! By sending a minimum annual membership of $35 to EPIC you’ll help to ensure that the ecosystems of Northwest California receive the protection they deserve.

Over the last 35 years, the Environmental Protection Information CenterEPIC has diligently worked on behalf of the wildlife and wild places of Northwest California. These efforts have led to the permanent protection and restoration of thousands of acres of ancient forests, and strengthened the interpretation and enforcement of environmental laws and protections throughout the state and nation.

Don’t forget, EPIC will be holding 2 membership meetings seperate from the Fall Celebration this year:

  • Saturday, November 10th 2012 at Persimmons Garden Gallery in Redway from 12:00pm-2:00pm.
  • Friday, December 7th at the EPIC Office in Arcata from 5:00pm-8:00pm.

Marbled Murrelet Sold Out by Feds

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

EPIC along with 20 other conservation groups sent a letter to the Obama administration asking it to withdraw from a recent settlement agreement with the timber industry that, if approved by a federal court, would eliminate protection from nearly 4 million acres of critical habitat for the marbled murrelet until 2018.  The federally threatened murrelet — a shy, robin-sized seabird that nests on the wide branches of old-growth trees — has severely declined in the face of logging of Pacific Coast forests, a trend that continues today due to ongoing logging, according to recent studies.

The agreement must be approved by a federal district court in Washington, D.C. before it is final. The agreement stems from a challenge brought by timber industry groups to listing and protection of critical habitat for murrelets. Conservation group intervenors Audubon Society of Portland, Seattle Audubon, the Center for Biological Diversity, Oregon Wild, Conservation Northwest, the Environmental Protection Information Center, represented by Earthjustice, have opposed the agreement. The court will decide whether to approve the agreement any day, but the groups are calling on the administration to pull out of the agreement before a decision is handed down.

Recent research shows that marbled murrelets have been declining by roughly 4 percent per year range-wide since 2002.  The main factors in their decline are continued habitat loss due to logging, particularly on state and private lands, and predation. Removal of critical habitat protections could lead to further habitat loss.

Learn more about Marbled Murrelets by watching these short videos:

Mysterious Marbled Murrelet

Marbled Murrelet: Status and Threats

Take Action to Protect the Pristine Smith River

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Click Here to Take Action Now! The Wild and Scenic Smith River, old-growth trees and imperiled salmon need your help!  Caltrans has another environmentally destructive and regionally  inappropriate highway-widening project slated for the most remote and wild corner of Northwest California.

Caltrans’ “197/199 Safe STAA Access Project” intends to realign and widen the roadway  along U.S. Highway 199 and State Route 197,  a winding country highway that connects Crescent City on  the California redwood coast to Grants Pass in Oregon, in seven different locations  in order to allow increased and unrestricted access for the largest and  heaviest commercial trucks on the road, referred to as STAA trucks.

Touting safety and improved goods movement, this project would harm the  Smith River, the “Crown Jewel” of the National Wild and Scenic River  System, putting endangered salmon and steelhead at risk. This project  also directly and indirectly threatens the old-growth redwood forests.

Take Action!

Hooting and Howling for Owls and Wolves in California

Friday, October 12th, 2012

As autumn weather sweeps through the hills, hinting at the first rains on the coast and the first wisps of snow in the high country, I find myself listening for the gentle hooting of owls and the joyous howling of wolves returning to their ancestral homelands in California.

Recently, the California Fish and Game Commission made two decisions that are cause for more hooting and howling in Wild California.  First, the commission voted to accept EPIC’s petition to list the Northern Spotted Owl under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA), triggering an evaluation by the Department of Fish and Game that will be delivered to the commission in advance of a public hearing in February 2012.  The State of California has never acted to protect the Northern Spotted Owl under CESA, despite clear declines throughout the species range in California, as well as the remainder of the range.  It is now time for the State of California to recognize its duties under CESA, and based on the overwhelming evidence, act swiftly to protect the Northern Spotted Owl.  Without a more holistic view of species recovery and landscape-scale conservation, the owl is likely to go extinct in the foreseeable future. Within California alone, EPIC has identified numerous logging proposals on both private and public lands that will destroy or degrade spotted owl habitat.  For example, on private lands owned by Sierra Pacific Industries, EPIC has identified over 27 timber harvest plans that are currently ongoing or proposed that will destroy over 7,000 acres of spotted owl habitat.  Notably, the ongoing destruction of Northern Spotted Owl habitat by Sierra Pacific Industries is taking place without an incidental take permit as required under the ESA.  EPIC has formally notified Sierra Pacific Industries with letter of intent to sue over violations of the ESA.  Meanwhile, state and federal agencies have been aware of this ongoing harm, but have failed to act.  The overall habitat destruction on Sierra Pacific Industries and other private lands in northern California has resulted in the abandonment of dozens of historic spotted owl territories.  Those that remain are mostly all severely deficient in suitable habitat, particularly nesting and roosting habitat made up of older forests.  With the Department of Fish and Game evaluation process, EPIC intends to bring these injustices into the light of day.

Second, the commission voted to move forward with a full status review for the Gray Wolf under CESA, to determine whether to protect the species in response to a petition from EPIC and our allies.  While the status review is conducted over the next year, the Gray Wolf is listed as a “candidate species,” and therefore is entitled to full protections under CESA.   The first wild wolf in the state in over 80 years, a lone male named “Journey” or “OR7” by supporters and biologists, still roams the wild country near Lassen National Park and adjacent national forests.   After nearly a year of residency, Journey appears intent on staying, jaunting over hundreds of miles and getting a good handle on the lay of the land.  As several forest fires burned over the summer, Journey’s explorations took him right to the edge of the fire lines, presumably drawn by the presence of deer and elk escaping the flames.  While Journey has staked out territory in California, his relatives back in Oregon have been successful in forming new packs and producing another promising generation of new pups.  The future of wolves in California depends on these pups in Oregon, and their attempts to make a living in sometimes hostile landscapes.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced intentions towards stripping away the protections of the federal Endangered Species Act from wolves.  Based on this distinct fear of losing federal protections, EPIC joined with several conservation allies in petitioning to add the gray wolf to the list of protected species under the California Endangered Species Act.

EPIC Requests Forest Service Analyze Impacts of Marijuana Grows on National Forest Lands in Northwest California

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

On October 11, 2012, the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) sent a letter to Regional Forester Randy Moore, and four Forest Supervisors in northwestern California, that requests the United States Forest Service initiate analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regarding the impacts of marijuana cultivation on national forest lands.  In addition, EPIC requested that the Forest Service reinitiate consultation under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) over the impacts of marijuana cultivation on imperiled species, including Coho Salmon, Steelhead, Northern Spotted Owl and Pacific Fisher.

This letter follows a previous letter sent to the Mendocino National Forest in the summer of 2011, and to which the Acting Supervisor of the Mendocino National Forest had replied negatively, denying EPIC’s request that the USFS initiate analysis of the environmental impacts of marijuana cultivation on public lands.

Besides the ongoing threats posed by damaging marijuana cultivation on public lands, EPIC has identified effects of Forest Service management actions that may be exacerbating or facilitating marijuana cultivation on our public lands.  “The letter sets forth legal obligations of the Forest Service in the face of new information about environmental impacts not previously considered by the agency in the development and implementation of Land and Resource Management Plans, Travel Management Plans, logging, grazing, and other projects,” said Andrew Orahoske, EPIC conservation director. “The Forest Service is obligated to analyze and respond to new information pursuant to NEPA and meet ongoing duties under the ESA,” continued Orahoske.

“Our effort to engage the Forest Service on this issue is something that EPIC may have initiated more than a year ago, but we are not the only stakeholders asking that land managers undertake analysis to understand the implications of this threat to our public lands,” said EPIC executive director Gary Graham Hughes. “Congressman Mike Thompson has now stated publicly that more study is needed,” Hughes added, “and we think that it is only a matter of time before the federal government commits to providing their land managers with the resources needed to analyze the impacts and fully understand the management issues related to this persistent threat.”

The effort by EPIC to secure appropriate analysis of these impacts by federal land management agencies will be featured at a symposium titled Environmental Challenges of Marijuana Agriculture in the Age of Prohibition, to be held on the Humboldt State University campus on Friday afternoon, Oct 12. The Humboldt Interdisciplinary Institute for Marijuana Research is hosting the symposium that will feature panels composed of local environmental organizations, community members, and public officials exploring the threats and opportunities presented by cannabis agriculture on the North Coast of California.

Environmental Challenges of Marijuana Agriculture in the Age of Prohibition

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

On Friday, Oct 12th from 1:00-5:00 pm, Humboldt State University will be hosting a panel discussion on the Environmental Challenges of Marijuana Agriculture in the Age of Prohibition.  The symposium will be held in the Native Forum Room 162, Behavioral and Social Sciences Building at 16th  & Union Street in Arcata.

This two-part symposium will gather grassroots environmental activists, community members, and policy makers to discuss efforts to address the environmental impacts of marijuana cultivation. Panelists will review the impacts of marijuana agriculture and offer insights into the opportunities and challenges involved in addressing these problems.  The symposium is sponsored by the Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research and the Sociology Department. The event is free and open to the public.

Session 1:  1:00- 2:45 The Problem and Responses:  Environmental Impacts and the Politics of Cannabis Agriculture

This panel of grassroots environmental organizers and policy makers will discuss environmental impacts associated with industrial marijuana agriculture, how current policy affects those impacts, and challenges involved in addressing environmental impacts associated with marijuana production.

Session 2:  3:00 – 5:00 pm Environmental, Cultural, and Economic Futures: Sustainability and Marijuana Agriculture

This panel of grassroots environmental organizers, community members, and policy makers offer perspectives on paths to environmental, cultural and economic sustainability.

The event will feature the following participants:

  • Hezekiah Allen, Executive Director, Mattole Restoration Council
  • Scott Geacen, Executive Director, Friends of the Eel River
  • Gary Graham Hughes, Executive Director,  Environmental Protection Information Center
  • Tasha McKee, Executive Director, Sanctuary Forest
  • Mike Downey, Humboldt County Sheriff
  • Paul Gallegos, Humboldt County District Attorney
  • Mark Lovelace, Humboldt County District 3 Supervisor
  • Scott Downie, California Department of Fish and Game Senior Biologist
  • Casey O’Neill, Community Member
  • Kyle Keegan, Community Member

Contact Dr. Tony Silvaggio, Sociology Department, Humboldt State University at 707.826.3142 for more information.