Loggers told to stop cutting

  In an unprecedented action against a major timber company, California suspended Pacific Lumber's operating license this November. The Humboldt County company, locked in confrontation with environmentalists over the giant coastal redwoods of the Headwaters Forest, was cited for numerous violations, including cutting trees too close to streams and driving heavy equipment in spotted-owl habitat.

Paul Mason, with the Environmental Protection Information Center, applauded the state's crackdown, calling Pacific Lumber "such a disreputable and dishonest timber company that they shouldn't be allowed to run a chainsaw in their own forest."

Pacific Lumber logging crews will likely be out of work until next year - the company has already laid off 180 employees. But its sawmills will keep on humming with stockpiled timber and logs provided by independent contractors not affected by the suspension.

Spokeswoman Mary Bullwinkel says her company is "taking this very seriously." She adds that company president John Campbell is anxious to meet with state officials to get crews back in the woods as soon as possible.

Environmentalist Mason is guessing that the suspension may undermine federal and state efforts to buy the old-growth redwoods of the Headwaters grove (HCN, 9/14/98). The $380 million deal calls for a 50-year Habitat Conservation Plan to protect species like the marbled murrelet and the spotted owl on all of Pacific Lumber's lands.

* Stanley Yung

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