In 2013 the California Legislature passed SB 904 which created a new logging plan called a Working Forest Management Plan (WFMP). The industry-dominated Board of Forestry was required to promulgate regulations implementing the WFMP. True to form, the Board attempted to subvert the strong environmental requirements of the legislation. Consequently in November Environmental Protection Information Center, Coast Action Group and challenged the regulations in court. Forest Unlimited has financially supported this suit.
Oral arguments on the case were heard in Alamedia Superior Court on Friday April 20 and members of Forest Unlimited were there. The Atroney General’s office and a CalFire attorney defended the regulations. Well know attorney Sharon Duggan represented our side. Ms. Duggan is the author of Guide to the California Forest Practice Act and Related Laws, a tome used by attorneys and ordinary citizens alike to understand forestry law.
Alan Lavine, Director of Coast Action Group, said “I think we did well in Court. Sharon Duggan was well prepared and thorough in her presentation on the issues. The Attorney General’s Deputy was not prepared as she admitted. Judge was very thorough and had obviously done a lot of reading and studying and was well versed on the details.”
The Judge seemed a little upset with the AG. For example, in response to one of his cogent questions she had no response. The judge responded “Really -that is all you have? Your kidding !, You must have more. That is it? Huh.” In contrast, Sharon Duggan did a masterful job. After viewing Sharons’s performance, Forest Unlimited’s Executive Director Rick Coates commented “It was a pleasure to watch Sharon demonstrate her well-honed skills. I am optimistic that the judge will rule in our favor.”
We should see the final ruling a week or so. Hopefully, the Board of Foresty will learn that it can not just do whatever it’s wants and must actually follow the law. Given their history, we know that is a lot to ask.