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For Immediate Release, December 18, 2008


Chris Kassar, Center for Biological Diversity, (520) 609-7685
Justin Augustine, Center for Biological Diversity, (415) 436-9682 x 302

Conservation Group Calls for California To Reduce Greenhouse Gas
Emissions From Logging and Clearcutting
Logging Plans Must Analyze and Reduce Climate Impacts

SACRAMENTO, Calif.— The Center for Biological Diversity submitted comments today on a timber-harvest plan up for state approval, highlighting the failure of the plan to address and analyze the contribution that proposed logging projects will have on carbon emissions and associated global warming. Today’s comments are the latest in a series of efforts by the Center to ensure that logging companies and the California Department of Forestry no longer ignore the enormous increase in global warming emissions caused by clear-cut logging practice.

The California Department of Forestry is responsible for approving all timber-harvesting plans on private land in California and must ensure that each proposed harvest complies with the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA. Under CEQA, state agencies and local governments approving projects must analyze the projects’ effect on greenhouse gas emissions. Recent CEQA guidance from the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research explicitly directs state agencies to quantify greenhouse gas emissions resulting from a project, determine the significance of the emissions, and identify ways to avoid or mitigate the emissions.

“In spite of California’s mandate to aggressively reduce greenhouse gases, logging companies have largely ignored or distorted the impacts of logging on climate change,” said Justin Augustine, a staff attorney for the Center. “We need the Department of Forestry to implement the law and ensure that carbon emissions from clear-cutting are avoided and mitigated.”

Requests to clear-cut thousands of acres of California’s forests are currently before the state Department of Forestry . For example, the Swamped Timber Harvest Plan would alone clear-cut 424 acres. None of the requests address carbon emissions, however, as required by CEQA. This is an especially serious problem given that the published science shows that clear-cutting can remove more carbon from the forest than any other disturbance, including fire.

“Business as usual is no longer an option,” said Chris Kassar, public lands associate director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Global warming is already harming California species like the pika and is projected to dramatically reduce the state’s snowpack and water supplies in the near future. California is a national leader on this issue, requiring state agencies to implement global warming solutions. We will hold the Department of Forestry accountable for doing so.”

Read the comments submitted today here:

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