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Arcata Redwood Co. v. State Bd. of Forestry

ELR Citation: 7 ELR 20755
Nos. No. 61910, 10 ERC 1786/(Cal. Super. Ct., 09/08/1977)

The court upholds the power of the State Board of Forestry to disapprove timber harvesting plans on the grounds that they would foreclose future congressional action to expand Redwood National Park. Petitioners, which are logging companies doing business in Humboldt County, filed harvesting plans with the Director of Forestry; these plans were rejected by the Board as not conforming to the California Forest Practices Act. On respondents' general demurrer to the petition challenging this denial, the court holds that, although some of the allegations in the petition are conclusory and therefore cannot survive the demurrer, the allegations concerning the effect of the possible expansion of the Park are sufficiently specific to state a cause of action. As to this allegation, the court accepts petitioners' argument that the Forest Practices Act alone does not grant the Board authority to deny the plans, because the Act is intended to regulate the manner of, rather than the decision of whether to allow, timber cutting. Nonetheless, the court relies on Natural Resources Defense Council v. Arcata National Corp., 6 ELR 20623, and an amendment to the California Environmental Quality Act to find that the Board must include environmental protection among its purposes. The Board found that approving the timber plans would adversely affect the environment near and in the Park and therefore was required to consider alternatives. A feasible alternative, properly implemented by the Board, was disapproval of the plans pending action by Congress on expansion of the Park. The court also holds that the complaint was not correctly verified and cannot state a cause of action against the Director of Forestry, since his orders are not final administrative action subject to judicial review.

The orders of the State Board of Forestry (11 pp. $1.50, ELR Order No. A-1010) and an Attorney General's Opinion relative to this issue (5 pp. $0.75, ELR Order No. A-1011) are available from ELR.

Counsel for Petitioner Arcata Redwood Co.
Stuart R. Pollak
Howard, Prim, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady & Pollak
640 California St., San Francisco CA 94108
(415) 434-1600

Counsel for Petitioner Louisiana-Pacific Corp.
Joseph A. Darrell
Thelen, Marrin, Johnson & Bridges
2200 Two Embarcadero Center, San Francisco CA 94111
(415) 392-6320

Counsel for Respondent
R. Frederic Fisher, Robert Schiebelhut
Lillick, McHose & Charles
Two Embarcadero Center, San Francisco CA 94111
(415) 421-4600

Antonio Rossmann
476 Jackson St., San Francisco CA 94111
(415) 398-4727

Counsel for Amicus Curiae United States of America
Rodney Hamblin, Ass't U.S. Attorney
450 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco CA 94102
(415) 556-5131