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That's Not Sustainable



Your article greenwashes the timber industry! ("Red Gold and Greenwashing," Jan. 16.) The subject was not thoroughly researched.

The issue has to do not with jobs but with environmental pollution, the continual silting of the Elk River and the slicing off of pieces of Gaia's lungs. How many seedlings does it take to replace trees (if only 15-20 years old) in terms of extracting carbon from the atmosphere?

The Elk was a magnificent river feeding Humboldt Bay with clean water and providing habitat for numerous fish species, including coho and steelhead. The deep spawning holes are filled with silt and plant matter clogs the river.

In spite of citations and public statements that the Elk will be cleaned, no such effort has happened, except perhaps along the Headwaters Trail. For "greenwashing"?

Another big issue has to do with property rights! Property owners have few rights while lumber companies and ranchers are given free rein to pollute. Lumber companies create silt run-off and cattle pollute with fecal matter.

The Upper Elk is flooded to the point that ground water, septic and home foundations are being destroyed!

Along the lower Elk with the yearly flooding, we stay home and miss work and school rather than drive through two feet of river. The roads are pock-marked and the county comes by and attempts to repair every so often.

One wonders what would happen if a major fire or other emergency were to happen across the river during flood times?

Isn't it about time that the timber industry were truly held in check? The forests and waters have a bigger purpose for all of us than lining the pockets of a few workers for a few years and the corporate owners such that they can flounder in their wealth!

Scott Sherman, Eureka


The so-called Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) is a timber industry front-group, founded, funded, and governed by the very industry it is supposed to watchdog. SFI is the proverbial fox guarding the henhouse.

SFI claims it is "good for forests" when it certifies as "green" logging practices that result in soil erosion, stream sedimentation, landslides, widespread toxic chemical use, conversion from forests to tree plantations, and habitat loss for sensitive species. The truth is that forest destruction certified by SFI poses a severe threat to California's forests. The SFI continues to greenwash the products of forest destruction in order to confuse people who are truly concerned about the environment and want to make the right choices.

If we want to protect forests, and promote environmentally responsible forestry, then we must view SFI as greenwash, and as a threat to forests and the people who depend on them. The people of Humboldt County want and need environmentally responsible forestry. They oppose greenwashing by the timber industry. California's forests are a treasure. Let's treat them that way.

Jim Ace, Bellingham, Wash.

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