[env-trinity] Sacramento Bee 10 1 09 Clear Cutting?

Byron Leydecker bwl3 at comcast.net
Fri Oct 2 10:32:09 PDT 2009


Schwarzenegger, Sierra Pacific agree on carbon-offset project

 

By Jim Downing 
 <mailto:jdowning at sacbee.com> jdowning at sacbee.com

Published: Thursday, Oct. 1, 2009 - 12:00 am | Page 8B 
Last Modified: Thursday, Oct. 1, 2009 - 8:08 am

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and timber giant
<http://topics.sacbee.com/Sierra+Pacific/> Sierra Pacific Industries on
Wednesday evening announced the nation's largest forest carbon-offset
project, meant to keep millions of tons of climate-warming gases out of the
atmosphere over the next century.

Forestry and some  <http://topics.sacbee.com/conservation+groups/>
conservation groups said the deal shows the state's new rules on forest
offsets, adopted last week by the
<http://topics.sacbee.com/Air+Resources+Board/> Air Resources Board,will be
attractive to landowners.

But some environmental advocates said it's a sign that the
<http://topics.sacbee.com/timber+industry/> timber industry is poised to
capitalize on a provision that allows clear-cutting on land enrolled in
carbon-offset programs.

"This is the thing we were worried about," said
<http://topics.sacbee.com/Michael+Endicott/> Michael Endicott, resource
sustainability advocate at  <http://topics.sacbee.com/Sierra+Club/> Sierra
Club  <http://topics.sacbee.com/California/> California.

The deal coincides with a high-profile international climate summit
Schwarzenegger is hosting in  <http://topics.sacbee.com/Los+Angeles/> Los
Angeles this week.

On four plots totaling 60,000 acres in  <http://topics.sacbee.com/Tuolumne/>
Tuolumne, Tehama, Shasta and Siskiyou counties,
<http://topics.sacbee.com/Sierra+Pacific/> Sierra Pacific is committing to
timber management strategies that should store more carbon compared with
"business as usual."

"We can still manage our forests, but we have to meet or exceed the baseline
conditions," said  <http://topics.sacbee.com/Mark+Pawlicki/> Mark Pawlicki,
a spokesman for the company.

Over the next five years,  <http://topics.sacbee.com/Sierra+Pacific/> Sierra
Pacific expects the new management practices will keep 1.5 million metric
tons of  <http://topics.sacbee.com/carbon+dioxide/> carbon dioxide stored in
the trees and soil that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere.
That's equivalent to what's generated by burning 170 million gallons of
gasoline.

Additional carbon would be stored in subsequent years, with the deal
constraining what  <http://topics.sacbee.com/Sierra+Pacific/> Sierra Pacific
can do with the land for 100 years.

That stored carbon could likely be purchased as an "offset" by industrial
polluters or electricity generators needing to reduce emissions under the
state's "cap and trade" system. That program is slated to take effect in
2012, though details have yet to be finalized.

Clear-cutting, or removing all the trees in a plot, is allowed on sections
of up to 40 acres on private land in  <http://topics.sacbee.com/California/>
California. The offset policy doesn't change that.

Land registered for a forest-offset program could be clear-cut if that
represented an improvement over how the land would have been managed
otherwise. For instance, a forest in an area that has been cleared every 40
years might instead be allowed to grow for 80 years before logging, a cycle
that would likely store more carbon.

Groups like the Sierra Club and the
<http://topics.sacbee.com/Center+for+Biological+Diversity/> Center for
Biological Diversity oppose clear-cutting mainly because it can damage
<http://topics.sacbee.com/wildlife+habitat/> wildlife habitat, erode forest
soils and pollute waterways. By making carbon-offset revenue available only
for lands logged less invasively - by cutting some trees but leaving others,
for instance - the state could have discouraged clear-cutting, they argue.

But other groups like the  <http://topics.sacbee.com/Nature+Conservancy/>
Nature Conservancy support the new rules and say they balance the need to
have a program that is attractive to landowners while still maintaining
environmental standards.

"There's a fine line with how far you should go with additional
(environmental) requirements," said
<http://topics.sacbee.com/Michelle+Passero/> Michelle Passero, the group's
senior climate policy adviser, who helped craft the rules approved last
week.

 

 

Byron Leydecker, JcT

Chair, Friends of Trinity River

PO Box 2327

Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327

415 383 4810 land

415 519 4810 cell

 <mailto:bwl3 at comcast.net> bwl3 at comcast.net

 <mailto:bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org> bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org
(secondary)

 <http://fotr.org/> http://www.fotr.org 

 

 

 

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