Wednesday, January 16, 2008

'The Great Redwood Forest'

Posted By on Wed, Jan 16, 2008 at 1:08 PM

A new proposal for the future of Pacific Lumber was unveiled yesterday by The Nature Conservancy, the Save-the-Redwoods League, Bank of America and other organizations, including a local group that includes environmental activists Mark Lovelace and David Simpson.

The consortium appears to be consulting with the holders of Pacific Lumber's principal debtors, the owners of $730 million dollars worth of "Timber Bonds." These bonds were issued back in 1998, when Palco parent company Maxxam reorganized the debt it had loaded onto the company in a leveraged buyout in the mid-'80s.

The bondholders are the biggest players in the Pacific Lumber Co. bankruptcy hearing underway in Corpus Christi, Texas. If the consortium that issued yesterday's press release really does have the ear of the bondholders, their plan has a real shot.

It's already gotten a lot of press. Here's the Times-Standard, the SF Chronicle, the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat and the San Jose Mercury-News. I wrote about it for this week's Journal.

In a nutshell, the plan calls for the conservation of some 12,000 acres of critical habitat, with the rest of Palco's acreage left in sustainably managed timber production. Palco's Scotia mill would stay in operation. But you can download the whole four-page press release here (.doc, contact information redacted.) It's an outline, but it has a great deal of detail and background on each of the consortium members.

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Hank Sims

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