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Pacific Lumber Claims It's Getting Bum Rap

September 23, 1990

The column by Harry Anderson titled "The Monied Set Storms Redwood Country" (Aug. 28) contains several misstatements of fact about Pacific Lumber Co.

Anderson discussed the harvesting of old-growth redwood and the use of clear-cutting as the method of harvest. Pacific Lumber does not now clear-cut any old-growth redwood, and except for about 500 acres in 1985 and 1986, the company has not clear-cut old-growth redwood for the past 50 years. Pacific Lumber harvests its remaining old-growth redwood by modified selection cut. There may be old-growth redwood surrounding Eureka and it may have been clear-cut, but certainly not by Pacific Lumber.

Anderson discussed the fact that Pacific Lumber has doubled its harvest level . . . and states that the company is exporting the increment in the form of logs. Pacific Lumber sells only about 6% of its harvest in the form of logs, and almost all of them are sold to local mills. Pacific Lumber exports insignificant amounts of logs, and the logs that are exported are limited strictly to hardwoods. Except for the shipment of less than 10 logs in late 1985 and early 1986, Pacific Lumber has exported no logs of redwood, whether old-growth or not.

Anderson stated that Pacific Lumber created few mill jobs when it doubled its harvest level and began exporting logs of old-growth redwood. As already noted, Pacific Lumber does not export logs of old-growth redwood. Instead, such logs are converted into lumber in Pacific Lumber's own mills. In 1985, Pacific Lumber employed 900 people in its forests and mills. Since then, Pacific Lumber has added 400 new jobs, almost all of which are located in the mills.

Anderson stated that Pacific Lumber doubled its harvest to pay off the junk bond debt incurred in its "smart money play." It is true, at least in part, that income from the added harvest has been used to pay the interest on Pacific Lumber's acquisition debt. More important, Pacific Lumber has used the added income to substantially improve its operations.

Such investment reflects Pacific Lumber's longstanding commitment to its employees, their families and the communities of Humboldt County.

ANTHONY R. PIERNO

Vice President and General Counsel

Pacific Lumber Co., Scotia, Calif.

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