Ralliers implore county to ban clear cutting

Daniel Mintz
Mad River Union

HUMBOLDT – Following an April 28 rally in front of the county administrative building in Eureka, several people urged the Board of Supervisors to ban clear cut logging in Humboldt County.

The use of clear-cutting as a timber harvest technique was described as destructive and unsustainable during the public comment period of last week’s supervisors meeting.

Several California cities, including San Francisco, Daly Park and Davis, have passed resolutions supporting statewide bans on clear cutting. The ralliers who spoke at the meeting asked supervisors to implement a ban within the county, which would be legally doubtful because the state has authority over timber harvests.

Supervisors were nevertheless implored to challenge the practice. “If we have any consideration for those who will come after us, then maybe we can start trying to help hospice care for the earth and the redwoods here,” said Peter Muller of Arcata.

Veteran environmental advocate Jack Nounnan emphasized the role of forests in offsetting climate change. “The very best asset we have to give to the rest of the world right now to help us in the long run, too, is our forests – our forests standing,” he said. “Because our forests standing will provide great cooling oxygen and be a sequester of a lot of carbons.”

Nounnan said forest preservation advocates intend to appear every week before supervisors to ask for action against clear cutting. A woman who identified herself as Sovereign questioned why clear cuts are allowed in an era of climate change and drought.

“Older trees sequester more carbon, younger trees use more water to grow – so this model of creating more tree plantations and doing away with the last of the older forests is just not going to work,” she said. “The planet is in a climate crisis, California is in a drought crisis – it just doesn’t make sense.”

Two HSU environmental science students also spoke, urging supervisors to take action against clear cutting and environmental degradation.

Supervisors have a limited capacity to respond to public commentary and there was no discussion on it.

But in an interview after the meeting, Board Chair Estelle Fennell said anyone who wants supervisors to consider the idea of a ban can contact a member of the board and ask that it be agendized.

She added, however, that the issue would be more suited for the state to consider than the county and that, “In a resource-based county, it’s really important to look into what the foresters have to say.”

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