Voice of the Environment's mission is to educate the public regarding the transfer of public trust assets into private, mostly corporate, hands.
1330 Boonville Rd
Ukiah, CA 95482
391 Crystal Springs Rd
St. Helena, CA 94574
For two decades, Voice of the Environment has stood up for the people and our communities against the avarice
of corporations and the misguided policies of the corporate-dominated state.
Preserving California's remaining old-growth forests on non-federal land by passing the Heritage Tree Preservation Act.
Voice of the Environment has been committed to the fight to save old growth trees and forests since our inception in 1992. In that year, Voice played a key role in stopping legislation that would have greatly expanded cutting of old growth in the national forests of Montana.
This issue is not only about treesit is about ecosystems and the overall healthfulness of our air and water, even our economy. Furthermore, it is our moral responsibility to leave a positive legacy of old growth forests for succeeding generations of Americans. Sadly, today, less than 3% of the native old growth trees of California remain standing. Across the rest of the country, the numbers are just as bleak, and are threatened to decline further due to the pro-corporate policies of the Bush administration.
The Heritage Tree Preservation Act (SB 1057/Perata) will protect all trees on nonfederal land that were alive before 1850 (the year California achieved statehood). Up-to-date information on the bill and what you can do to help it pass is available at www.ancienttrees.org and on this website.
Today, Voice is working with the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the League of Conservation Voters (CLCV) and thousands of California citizens to make this bill into law by the end of the current legislative session in 2006.
January 9, 2006
Study strikes salvage logging beliefs
A new study by Oregon State University researchers suggests that burned-over forests recover on their own as well or better than those that are logged and replanted.
January 8, 2006
A Donor Who Had Big Allies
In a case that echoes the Jack Abramoff influence-peddling scandal, two Northern California Republican congressmen used their official positions to try to stop a federal investigation of a wealthy Texas businessman who provided them with political contributions.
December 23, 2005
Cutting of private trees could be banned under new law
A Board of Supervisors committee approved legislation Monday that would give city officials wider powers to protect large trees in San Francisco, including those on private property.
November 26, 2005
USDA Forest Service Continues Losing Billions to Log National Forests
In the face of the overwhelming social and economic benefits from protecting our national forest for their amenities, the Forest Service and Congress continue their unabashed funding emphasis on logging to manage our national forests.
October 21, 2005
Logging damage in Amazon underestimated, satellites show
The area of land cleared of trees in the Amazon is twice the estimate, according to a new study of the environmental damage from previously undetected logging.
September 13, 2005
Giant trees, magnificent vistas, pristine wilderness. Well, reconsider the pristine part. The air in Sequoia-Kings Canyon is smoggier than New York City's.
September 9, 2005
Pacific Lumber Shirks Responsibility for Depleting Its Timber Base
In an announcement Wednesday, Pacific Lumber/Scotia Pacific (PL) again tried to shift the blame for its prospect of reduced harvest levels on the legitimate and necessary process currently underway under the auspices of the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (Water Board).
August 31, 2005
Scotia Pacific Layoffs Reveal Intent to Disregard Environmental Requirements
Yesterday, Pacific Lumber's timber-holding subsidiary Scotia Pacific (PL/ScoPac) announced that it was laying off a third of its workforce.
August 31, 2005
Redwood Logger Makes More Cuts at Company-Workers Feel the Brunt
As Maxxam CEO Charles Hurwitz is awarded $72 million by a judge in Texas, stability of Maxxam's subsidiary in Northern California continues to erode as Maxxam/PL subsidiary ScoPac announced that one third of its work force was being laid off.
August 26, 2005
Hamburg backed Hurwitz suit
Former Rep. Dan Hamburg said Thursday that while he was in office, he encouraged a federal agency to sue a Texas tycoon as a way to pressure him into giving up what was then the world's largest privately owned stand of ancient redwoods.
August 12, 2005
Timber firm loses compensation fight
Wildlife safeguards that scaled back logging operations did not deprive the firm of the property's full value, Oregon justices ruled.
August 11, 2005
Birds in the black
Through following avian wildlife, a UM scientist has discovered that burned forests play a critical role in the health and diversity of the Western landscape.
August 9, 2005
Spotted owl is on a dangerous decline
In Washington, the plan to save the spotted owl is not working.
August 3, 2005
Pacific Lumber seeks deal to cut debt
Citing a crushing debt load, Pacific Lumber Co. on Tuesday outlined a plan to seek bankruptcy protection while turning over controlling interest in its North Coast timberlands to anxious creditors.
August 2, 2005
During the 1980s, the dirty little secret of national forest management was exposed. Some “conservatives” didn’t want to talk about it, but fiscal analysis demonstrated that the great bulk of timber sales off the national forests were money losers.
August 2, 2005
Court overturns Bush repeal of NW Forest Plan
Bush administration plan to eliminate protection for rare plants and
wildlife must be reconsidered
August 1, 2005
Mexican Woods Offer a Look at California Forests' Past
A largely unmanaged forest in Mexico holds lessons for improving the health of California wildlands, according to University of California, Berkeley fire science professor Scott Stephens.
July 18, 2005
Palco hits state water board with suit
The Pacific Lumber Co. is suing to overturn the state water board's decision to slash logging in Freshwater and Elk River.
July 6, 2005
That Tree Stood for So Much
Jason Wilson was just 21 when a Lakota elder gave him a spirit name.
July 5, 2005
The Vanishing Ancients of California
Hollywood celebrities showed up locally to host a fundraiser for California's ancient trees. The celebs included Pierce Brosnan and his environmental activist wife Keely, Ed Begley, Jr., Cheryl Tiegs, and Christopher and Jan Cross.
March 9th, 2006|
The Green Scare
On January 20th, eleven people were indicted in Oregon by a grand jury
investigating acts of sabotage linked to the underground Earth Liberation
Front (ELF). The actions, going back nearly a decade, include a number of
arsons - with such targets as a ski resort expansion into endangered lynx
habitat and a facility for rounding up wild horses for dog food. There were
no injuries in any of the actions, but the FBI claims over $25 million in
damage to property.
Some of those indicted had been arrested in December, including one
person who died in custody in Arizona. Shock waves have been reverberating
through the environmental activist community, and the situation is still
unfolding. Two more people were arrested in Olympia, Washington, on
February 23, and the day before, outspoken Native American and animal
rights activist Rod Coronado was arrested in Tucson, Arizona, on charges
sent down by a grand jury in San Diego. In addition, there is a grand jury
investigating Animal Liberation Front (ALF) activities in San Francisco.
But those being rounded up are not only being charged with crimes
associated with the acts the FBI and grand juries allege - they are also
being labeled as terrorists. Moreover, Coronado's charges stem solely from
a public address he gave in San Diego in 2003. During this speech, in
response to a question from the audience, he explained how he went about
setting a fire at an animal testing lab in Michigan in the early 1990s - an
arson crime for which he had previously served a four-year term in federal
prison. For answering that question, Coronado has been accused under a
little-used federal statute making it a felony to "teach or demonstrate the
making or use of an explosive or destructive device."
The FBI announced last year that ELF was their #1 priority for
domestic terrorism. Now they have help from groups like the American
Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative public policy lobbying group
funded by over 300 corporations. ALEC, in collaboration with the US
Sportman's Alliance, has written model legislation stepping up the ante for
acts of property destruction committed against corporations in the business
of development, logging, mining and vivisection.
Legislation has been introduced in nine states seeking to categorize
property destruction, trespass or arson as acts of domestic terrorism IF
committed by animal rights activists. Of course, arson, trespass and
vandalism are already illegal, but ALEC wants to see additional layers
added so that those who support those activities - financially or otherwise
- could also be prosecuted. The terrorist label, and the addition of
conspiracy changes, as in the current cases, are meant to marginalize and
vilify people already facing criminal charges and to enhance sentencing
options. In the current culture of fear that exists in the US, the
vilification in effect denies the accused their right to a presumption of
innocence until a trial.
The branding of acts of property destruction as terrorism rather than
sabotage increases the sensationalism surrounding this politically charged
situation, and is designed to send potential support running in the
opposite direction. The authorities even call those arrested "the family,"
in an undisguised attempt to evoke images of the notorious Manson family.
But the Manson family were cold-blooded murderers. The indicted
environmental activists are people never known to carry weapons. There have
been no injuries or deaths in connection with the actions alleged. Yet they
are being called terrorists, even as violent attacks by the right-wing have
gone un-prosecuted - 7400 hate crimes motivated by race, ethnic, religious
or sexual orientation, according to the FBI's own 2003 statistics.
The agenda is criminalization of dissent, long within the purview of
the FBI, but the less recognized agenda is also protection of wealth and
private property. It seems ALEC would put damage to property on par with
threat or actual harm to life. Nowhere, in the FBI's pronouncements of how
heinous these acts they call terrorism are, is a body count or even a
litany of injuries. The "injury" is defined in millions of dollars to
corporations who are in the business of building multi-million dollar
developments on endangered species habitat.
If property destruction is put on par with threat to life, the
question must be asked whether the next step will be increased prosecution
for the revered tradition of non-violent civil disobedience or vilification
of the successful market campaigns carried out by the likes of Rainforest
Action Network, because after all, those activities, as well as boycotts
and strikes, put a dent in the bottom line of profit margin. In fact,
attacks disguised as IRS investigations and other back door strategies are
already on the rise against organizations that carry out civil disobedience
and market campaigns.
"Eco-terrorism," a term trumpeted in the media, was invented in the
early 1990s by public relations firm Hill and Knowlton, in the employ of
corporations in the extractive industries. It was then put into popular use
by right-wing ideologues like Ron Arnold, long known as a vehement
anti-environmentalist whose self-professed goal is to destroy the
Property destruction is sabotage, not terrorism. Call it what it is,
and then debate appropriate prosecution and penalties.
Karen Pickett is the director of the Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters
Forest. She has been an Earth First! activist since the early 1980s.
Voice of the Environment is a 501 (c-3) not-for-profit Montana-based corporation formed in 1991.