The Journal's silver anniversary rehash was off base when it came to timber ("Then and Now," Sept. 17). Thadeus Greenson credits the Redwood Summer protests, in 1990, with "kicking off the timber wars." But this war began in 1986, with three large demonstrations against Maxxam in San Francisco, Arcata and Scotia. Over the next four years, and well before the May 24, 1990 bombing of Judi Bari (who was not mentioned in the issue, despite her image on the cover), hundreds of people participated in dozens of direct actions, resulting in scores of arrests and regular news coverage in the country's largest print and electronic media.
Greenson also strains to produce evidence, heretofore unknown, of benevolence on the part of Maxxam CEO Charles Hurwitz, who "continued the company's practice of taking care of its own. Not one employee was let go in the wake of the takeover. ..." Indeed, Maxxam increased Pacific Lumber's workforce from 900 in 1986 to 1,300 by 1990. But what else was Maxxam to do after tripling the cut of ancient redwoods? Oh, that's right: rob employees of their $60 million pension fund; liquidate $3 billion in PL assets; gouge taxpayers for the $980 million (including $500 million in tax credits) cost of Headwaters Forest (more than Maxxam paid for all of Pacific Lumber); then (as we predicted in 1987) declare bankruptcy, further stiffing taxpayers and timber workers.
Earlier, Journal publisher Judy Hodgson reported that "the timber wars are pretty much over." ("Counting Rings," Sept. 17.) But it's the resistance to the war that has gone all but missing; the war itself continues apace. Green Diamond's 420,000-acre transformation of the world's greatest forest to shag carpet of cloned, even-aged conifers, pocked by swaths of dying hardwoods where the company sprays herbicides, is a national disgrace never adequately covered by the Journal. Farther south, the Humboldt and Mendocino Redwood Company, although not logging as heavily as its predecessors — Maxxam and Louisiana Pacific — is still damaging watersheds and biodiversity with an excessive cut and liberal use of herbicides.
Together Green Diamond and HRC/MRC control half of the entire redwood biome. Peace is nowhere near at hand.
Greg King, Arcata