Attacked to drop large trees from the local community as part of an effort to reduce wildfires, PG & E is over a million board feet of timber harvested around state-owned power lines. Was sold. Jackson Demonstration State Forest Park. We pay for the timber to the agency that manages this asset. No timber harvesting plan was required for this task.
Activists are questioning this arrangement. They say this option is not available to most private landowners (it is unusual for utilities to occasionally pay “stump fees” when removing marketable timber from large plots of public land. But that’s the best solution to stop wildfires around PG & E lines.
Last year, PG & E exempted CalFire from two power lines to work around a power line running along Highway 20 between Willits and Fort Bragg through 115 acres of California-managed (JDSF). I received it. Forest Fire Department, or Cal Fire. (This operation is separate from the highly contested timber harvesting program, which is the ongoing focus of environmental and Native American land return activities.)
Work started last summer and is almost half done. Kevin Conway, manager of CalFire’s Demonstration State Forest Program, estimates that the sale of timber will bring about $ 140,000 to forests. He said the lumber was about half redwood and half mixed coniferous. “By packaging this as a larger project across the line from JDSF, PG & E is actually responsible for commercializing deleted logs for the safety and reliability of transmission lines. I was able to return some of the value to Jackson, “he said.
Walter Smith of Willitz has a mailing list of hundreds of landowners in Mendoshino and Humboldt counties. There are many stories of inadequate communication between land owners and utility contractors, who were subsequently disappointed with the scope of the removal. The land situation of JDSF, which belongs to the state, is a difficult problem for Smith. “I think it’s a double standard,” he said, about the fact that PG & E doesn’t compensate most landowners for the trees they remove from their property. “On the other hand, if landowners are paid, will there be an incentive to cut more trees?”
Last year, PG & E sold JDSF logging to Mendocino and Humboldt Redwood Company for a private amount. John Andersen, director of public policy at the company, said about 600,000 board feet have been delivered so far. He expects another 800,000 board feet by the time work is completed this summer or fall. Some of the wood is sent to a Ukiah sawmill that can take logs up to 28 inches in diameter. Larger logs are directed to Scottia’s Humboldt County factory.
PG & E spokesman Deanna Contreras said the contract between the utility and the timber company was approved by the California Public Utility Commission, writing:The funds that PG & E receives from the sawmill in exchange for timber will be used to partially offset the payment of PG & E’s stump fees and the costs for PG & E to carry out vegetation management work there. This far exceeds the payment that PG & E receives for the timber it provides to the sawmill. ”
Conway agrees with PG & E that clearing the line is not a lumber operation that requires a lumber harvest plan. Instead, he states: , But for another use … We also worked on additional fuel reductions in our contracts for PG & E to run outside their corridor right of way.
Smith remains skeptical. He states that logging mixed canopy forests does not solve the problem of regular catastrophic wildfires in PG & E. “Go back to the whole problem and stop logging all these trees that don’t need to be logged,” he emphasized. “That’s the number one problem. And the forest isn’t the problem. It’s the line. And even some of the fires initiated by PG & E, including Paradise Fire, are poorly equipped and unmaintained. Is the cause. “
This story was written by Salarys, Chief Reporter of KZYX Mendshino County Public Broadcasting. She is also a freelance print and radio outlet in Northern California.She can reach at [email protected]