Nevada City, Nevada — Medea Benjamin, Green Party Candidate for US Senate in California, today released her detailed plan for resolving the issues of logging on National Forestlands, supporting Forest Stewardship Council certification for the state’s private lands, and creating permanent, high-wage jobs in the non-tree paper and pulp industries. She speaks today at a noon rally at the steps of the County Board of Supervisors (950 Maidu St, Rood Center) in Nevada City, where she will speak against Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI), the largest recipient of subsidized public lumber. SPI’s logging plans are being critiqued that afternoon (1:30 p.m.) in front of Nevada County’s Board of Supervisors.
“According to GAO studies and numerous environmental watchdog agencies, our Forest Service is essentially subsidizing the largest logging corporations in the U.S. to cut old-growth and other high-value forest groves on our public lands through the National Forest timber sale program,” said Benjamin, a leader in the 1999 Seattle WTO protests that brought labor and environmentalists together. “Operations like Sierra Pacific Industries shouldn’t have been able to grow fat for years off the subsidized public timber that the US Forest Service consistently provides them, at far below market rates. I support the numerous studies that show that our National Forests are worth far more standing tall as unique ecosystems than laying flat as 2×4’s.”
Medea Benjamin’s opponent in the US Senate race, Senator Dianne Feinstein, supports continued logging on National Forest lands and is a leading supporter of the controversial Quincy Library Group process. According to the DC-based American Lands Alliance, Sierra Pacific Industries has been the single largest beneficiary of National Forest timber sales from California this century and is currently maneuvering the Quincy Library Group process to vastly increase the rate of logging on the Lassen and Klamath National Forests. Additionally, Senator Feinstein was the leading architect of the deal for the Headwaters Forest in Humboldt County, which enraged environmentalists by preserving only two of the forest’s six ancient redwood groves at an astronomical cost of over $360 million in public money.
“California has one of the highest rates of consumption of wood products in the world, as well as some of the most magnificent, threatened forests on Earth,” said Benjamin. “We must act appropriately and start using the vast body of knowledge our government has about non-wood alternatives — agricultural residues, hemp, kenaf and flax, to name just a few — to build a new, sustainable industry in California. Then we can preserve the watershed, recreational, ecological and spiritual values of California’s forests while still meeting all of our society’s need for building materials and paper products.”
In a Washington DC press conference today (6:30 a.m. PST), in the National Press Club’s West Wing, Ralph Nader will denounce the DEA’s plan to ban hemp food products. Nader will also join with Joe American Horse, a tribal member of the Pine Ridge Lakota (Sioux) Reservation, to denounce the recent DEA raid on Lakota territory, where armed federal agents recently raided an industrial-grade hemp.
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