Last week's front page "Red Gold and Greenwashing" (Jan. 16) did a great job fuzzwashing Green Diamond's obsession with short-term profits at the expense of the local ecology, economy and the fight against global climate change.
With absolutely no mention of the last five-and-a-half years of tree-sitting that has challenged and exposed Green Diamond's devastating logging practices, and only the most token coverage of the two environmentalists you did speak with, this article is one of the most harshly biased you have ever printed.
It's also not entirely accurate. Neal Ewald's figure of 15 acres per average clearcut is misleading. In 2012, Green Diamond planned to cut an average of 20 acres per unit — which is 100 acres per plan. These clearcuts are often located so close to one another, there's only a thin "beauty strip" of trees separating them. Viewing these checkerboard clearcuts from above is the best way to appreciate the enormous scars Green Diamond leaves on our landscape.
The article also makes no mention of Green Diamond's unique opportunity to combat global climate change. Redwoods sequester more carbon dioxide than any other tree; clearcutting releases much of this stored carbon dioxide. Green Diamond, as the largest redwood forest owner in California, has a responsibility to take aggressive action against climate change, above and beyond FSC standards.
It seems that Ms. Stansberry likes to hike out to clearcuts. If you contact the tree-sitters in Trinidad, they will be happy to show you some very "unfuzzy" clearcuts that bear little resemblance to the slash piles Neal Ewald is so proud of.
Amanda Tierney, Eureka
There are no timber wars here in upper Elk River. We are residents standing up for our right to live in our homes and use our property as we historically have. Elk River is and has been for over 100 years our only source of water for drinking, washing, gardening and farming. Logging has dumped so much sediment into the river that all those basic aspects of our lives are either threatened or destroyed. Furthermore, flooding has increased tenfold already. No one should praise Humboldt Redwood Company's logging as "green" or "good" in Elk River. The ongoing industrial logging certainly victimizes the residents even more. It is not "green," "good," "sustainable" or healthy for those of us with homes and farms in upper Elk River.
It is easy for the environmental community to laud HRC's logging practices because they ignore the disaster created by Maxxam. They are not looking at the steady increase of silt on our property, now nearly five feet deep and increasing every year. They are not examining the further damaging effects of logging on water, fish, people and property against the backdrop of the severely degraded condition that already exists in upper Elk River. Good logging practices do not make logging good.
HRC likes to say that their present logging is not causing harm; it is all that "legacy" logging. First that is not true both by personal eyewitness experience and by thorough scientific analysis. Second, even if it were true, what would it matter? The state and the logging companies need to look at the monumental harm already caused by logging; stop creating more; recover water quality and restore all the essential beneficial uses of water in Elk River; and make the residents' lives and property safe. Then and only then add logging, slowly, very slowly.
There is much more that needs to be heard and heeded for the residents in upper Elk River valley to get their lives back. We are willing and ready to help and have been for 20 years.
Kristi Wrigley, Eureka
"Red Gold and Greenwashing" included misleading, factually incorrect characterizations of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). Speaking as the Senior Vice President of Customer Affairs for the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, allow me to set the record straight.
SFI is a nonprofit organization managed by an independent board of directors with equal representation from the economic, environmental and social sectors. Our program is widely supported by academic foresters, conservation groups, state foresters, indigenous groups, labor leaders, U.S. and Canadian government agencies and community organizations in the U.S., Canada and internationally. The science-based SFI standard is developed through an open, transparent process that includes public comment periods and workshops through which everyone is welcome to participate.
The SFI standard promotes responsible forest management on more than 240 million acres of land across North America and in myriad other ways, including support of conservation research, logger training and community groups. Only by working together with everyone who cares about the future of our forests can we ensure that they will be healthy and thriving for generations to come.
Jason Metnick, Washington, D.C.
After reading "Red Gold and Greenwashing," I had the feeling that the author did not know a great deal about the subject.
Showing Ewald hugging a 32-year-old tree and claiming "it's just cranking out heartwood" was disgusting and it would seem that the author does not know that tree has no heartwood. Green Diamond is logging 40- to 60-year-old trees that have nothing in the way of heartwood and the Headwaters Fund, at the behest of County Economic Development, pissed out $175,000 for ads for Green Diamond and California Redwoods to sell their worthless wood for decking. That was not mentioned in the article. The Headwaters Fund giving money to a large business that is making plenty off of local natural resources and the economic development agency bringing that about is a serious issue in this county. It speaks to who the county answers to and backs and it demonstrates the lack of original and forward thinking we need in the area of economic development. The time for backing continued diminishment of natural resources is long past.
If Tim McKay were still alive I hate to think what he would think about Dan Ehresmans' statements. The only statement with any real worth was from Scott Greacen.
There were no less than nine pictures with the article but not one of them was an aerial view of Green Diamond land that shows the true picture of their practices, although the author notes that EPIC had many such pictures taken. I have to wonder why Rob DiPerna was not interviewed since he is the "forestry guy" for EPIC.
The article on the whole was mushy; it was hard, if not impossible, to come away with a clear idea of the pros and cons of the Forest Stewardship Council and the certification issue should have been one of the most important issues discussed. In addition there was no mention of the ongoing battles with Green Diamond such as the Strawberry Rock issue.
All in all, a great disappointment that an issue of such import was handled in the way that it was.
Sylvia De Rooy, Eureka