Indexed News on:

--the California "Mega-Park" Project

Tracking measurable success on preserving and connecting California's Parks & Wildlife Corridors

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Two Court Battles Over the Headwaters Forest:
Judge orders mediation in Pacific Lumber case

The Eureka Times-Standard

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge overseeing the Pacific Lumber Co. case ordered Friday that key creditors should go through mediation to resolve their differences over how the company should be restructured.
Corpus Christi, Texas, Judge Richard Schmidt ordered two days of mediation just prior to hearings that -- if the parties cannot strike a deal -- would determine which of two plans would go forward. The timber noteholders, backed by a bid by Beal Bank, are competing with a plan by Marathon Structured Finance Fund and the Mendocino Redwood Co.

Schmidt directed the trustee for the noteholders, Beal Bank, Marathon and Mendocino Redwood to participate in talks under a mediator, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Marvin Isgur. Papers outlining the different positions should be in to Isgur by April 23, and the mediation is set for April 25 and 26.

Palco's own plans for reorganization have effectively been sidelined.

The noteholders want to put Palco subsidiary Scotia Pacific's 210,000 acres up for auction, and Beal Bank has put forward an offer of $603 million. A representative of Beal on Thursday said he did not want to go through mediation, and would rather direct talks with other creditors.

Mendocino Redwood believes the timberlands are worth less than that, and are putting up $500 million -- but it is also planning to run the Scotia mill. Schmidt wants the two parties to work out an agreement.


California Supreme Court Hears Challenge to Pacific Lumber Logging Plan on May 5th

Oral argument in the Headwaters litigation is scheduled before the California Supreme Court on Thursday, May 8 at 9:00 a.m. at the State Building, located at 350 McAllister Street San Francisco in thecourtroom on the 4th floor. The 1999 Headwaters Deal, while promisingto ensure sustainable forest practices and protection of fish andwildlife resources, did just the opposite. Since the deal was inked, EPIC and the Sierra Club have pursued litigation challenging its state approvals, including the Sustained Yield Plan, a state Incidental Take Permit, and a Streambed Alteration Agreement. We won in the trial court, and are now asking the California Supreme Court to uphold that decision. Meanwhile, Pacific Lumber's unsustainable practices have forced it to bankruptcy. This case is critically important to how forestry is practiced in California, for protection of California's timber, water and wildlife resources, and to require agencies to maintain their obligations under the law. This is true no matter what happens in the Pacific Lumber's bankruptcy. We are the first case on the calendar for that day. Generally it is a good idea to get there atleast a half hour early, as you have to go through separate securitybefore entering the court room, and the courtroom may be crowded.


Forest Defense Camp set for May 2 - May 9


Pacific Lumber Timber Plan Threatens State Park

In a slick move to liquidate Redwoods along the South Fork of the Eel River, Pacific Lumber is moving quickly to get approval for a huge Timber Harvest Plan (THP) immediately adjacent to Humboldt Redwoods State Park. The Railcar THP 1-08-008 Hum would liquidate mature forests along the park border, just above the Avenue of the Giants. This area, encompassing the middle portion of the Bridge Creek watershed, has been proposed as a park addition in the proposal that The Nature Conservancy and Save-the-Redwoods League have put forward to resolve the Pacific Lumber bankruptcy.


Charles Hurwitz Expresses Sadness Over His Purchase of Pacific Lumber:

Article titled: "It seems like Charles Hurwitz just can't catch a break"

"For his part, Hurwitz has paid a hefty price for his ownership of Palco.

"This is the root of all evil for us," he said. "Everything that's bad in my business life has come out of this.""
Factor in the recent housing slump and Palco is in bad shape. So is Maxxam. Palco was Maxxam's biggest operating unit, and with the bankruptcy, Maxxam's revenue fell to $96 million from $292 million last year. All three of its businesses — lumber, real estate and race tracks — lost money on an operating basis.


Remembering the old Pacific Lumber Co.

...The Maxxam saga is ending, like the world in T.S. Eliot's “Hollow Men,” not with a bang but with a whimper.
Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it. Of course, in the case of Pacific Lumber's history, a repeat is impossible, at least for the next two or three millennia, as the trees are gone, together with the $4 billion that Hurwitz took from Humboldt.
But we must not forget this history, or the magnitude of our loss. The Maxxam years are a tragedy without a single beam of light in their blackness. Its lesson is paradigmatic as a fairy tale, and promises to be crucial for our survival in the 21st century.
Hurwitz never pretended to be anything other than a predator. His opening salvo to theassembled workers -- “There's a little story about the golden rule. Those who have the gold, rule” -- was a direct attack on civilization, and a naked cry of “en garde” to its defenders. ...

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