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San Francisco, Carlotta, California--
Plans to log the Headwaters Forest may have backfired against Pacific Lumber today when a Federal Court in San Francisco granted a temporary restraining order against Pacific Lumber, the company that owns the 2000 acres of virgin redwood forest in Humbolt County. The restraining order applies to not only the Headwaters Forest but to all of Pacific Lumber's timber holdings.
Said Gary Ball of the Mendocino Environment Center, "Any cutting they were planning to do under the exemption process is now enjoined. That saves Headwaters for at least another week."
A rally today at the company's facility at Carlotta drew as many as 2,000 protesters. The rally began at noon, and by 6 PM about 200 had been arrested. They were cited and released by law enforcement agencies that included the Humbolt County Sheriffs Office, Willits and Ukiah police departments, and the California Highway Patrol.
According to the Humbolt County Sheriffs Office at 6:15 PM, no one had been booked into jail and things were going "okay." According to Ball, arrests were "symbolic" arrests for trespassing on Pacific Lumber property; the Humbolt sheriffs office had agreed to not use mace and to not keep arrestees overnight.
The rally took place under overcast skies with keynote speakers, music, and a message delivered from the Dalai Lama. According to Tracy Katelman, a spokesperson at the rally, "It's been an incredible day of solidarity showing support for the Headwaters Forest. We're hopeful that the government will see this . . . as a real sign of public support to do something to protect the Headwaters forest."
According to Mary Bulwinkle of Pacific Lumber, the company is a willing seller of the Headlands Forest and welcomes a settlement of the dispute.
The rally came in protest to Pacific Lumber's plan to log the Headwaters Forest under an exemption logging plan. An exemption would have allowed up to 10% of the forest volume to be removed. The use of exemptions has come under increasing scrutiny by environmentalists recently, because exemptions allow no review, either by the public or the California Department of Forestry. According to Tom Osipowich, Deputy Director of CDF, an exemption must be approved by CDF if the paperwork is in order.
Without the restraining order, Pacific Lumber could have begun to log the Headwaters Forest as early as Saturday, which marks the end of the nesting season of the marbled murrlet.
The restraining order, which was filed by the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC), effectively halts all exemption logging on Pacific Lumber property. Three exemptions covered most of Pacific Lumber's holdings.
A preliminary injunction will be heard in Federal Court in San Francisco on September 22.
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