CGF’s oral comments on the San Jose Water Company logging plan

I attended the California Department of Forestry hearing on Wednesday, January 31 that was held to receive public comment over the San Jose Water Company proposal to log 1,000 acres of redwoods and Douglas-Fir trees in Santa ClaraCounty. Hundreds of people attended, and I would guess 90% were opposed.

The best argument against the type of plan the company submitted is that it’s only available for smaller landowners, while the company holds too much land. This could be a deal-killer.

I spoke near the end and had three basic comments. First, I said the best way to resolve the conflict between fire experts is a collaboratively-created Community Fire Plan that doesn’t hand control to one company, such as is the case here where the company has a bias that encourages arguing that logging big trees is good for fire protection.

Second, two pro-logging speakers had said we need to cut down our trees because otherwise they’ll log irresponsibly in Canada. So I noted how another, earlier speaker had come from a forest protection group in the Sierras and spoke against the project. Rather than encourage a bad plan here to protect her area, she felt that promoting good environmental management overall will help her area more.

Third, a staff member of the applicant had previously said they allowed a government agency to bring a hired consultant on to their land because they “had nothing to hide.” I pointed out that they refused permission for the fire experts hired by the community to participate in a pre-harvest inspection.

I thought I’d write about this partly because it’s such an important issue. Also, it’s an example of how I often try and use my very short opportunity for public comment. While there are usually multiple points I want to emphasize even before I’ve heard other speakers, I also try and seize the opportunity to reinforce previous good comments and to demonstrate why opposing arguments are incorrect.


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