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Environmental, Campaign & Website News > Critiquing Boise Cascade & Citigroup's practices

Critiquing Boise Cascade & Citigroup's practices

Date : 24th Oct 2001, Source : Newsgroup


Sent from The Charleston Gazette. Read the story online at
http://www.wvgazette.com/display_story.php3?sid=2001101930

Rain forests
Don't stifle protests

Saturday October 20, 2001

RAIN FORESTS cover just 2 percent of our globe today, just 6 percent of its land. Yet these elegant forests are home to more than half of the 5 million to 10 million plant and animal species on Earth.

Rain forests, the world's oldest ecosystems, once covered at least twice that area. Today they are being destroyed more rapidly than ever. The National Academy of Science estimates 50 million acres a year are lost. That's the area of England, Wales and Scotland combined. One-fifth of all birds and plants in the world evolved in Amazon Basin rain forests, according to the National Wildlife Federation. The Rainforest Action Network, based in San Francisco, is committed to saving what rain forests are left through information campaigns, newsletters and nonviolent protests.

Boise Cascade, which uses thousand-year-old trees to make plywood and office paper, is a major target of the group.

Rock 'n' roll Hall of Famer Bonnie Raitt and former Doors drummer John Densmore and 15 other RAN activists got arrested in July during an anti-logging protest at Boise Cascade offices near Chicago. On Oct. 2, Raitt was fined $150 and sentenced to 90 days of "court supervision." She promised she will be back. "It's not only our right. It's our responsibility as Americans - as people of conscience - to stand up for just causes," she said.

Hundreds of leading companies - including Kinko's, Home Depot and Lowe's - have already promised RAN they will stop selling products made with wood from endangered forests.

But Boise Cascade, based in Boise, Idaho, continues to market wood products from endangered forests around the globe, from South America to Southeast Asia.

Boise Cascade also led efforts to derail former President Clinton's "Roadless Policy" announcement in January to protect 58.5 million acres of wilderness land from commercial logging and road building. Bush administration officials overturned Clinton's action in June. Other major timber companies, such as Weyerhaueser and Canadian Forest Products, have committed to making environmental innovations advocated by RAN.

"It's time for Boise Cascade to listen to the American public and get out of the trade in old-growth wood products," the group recently said, "because Americans understand that ancient trees are worth more standing in a forest than stacked for sale."

Boise Cascade is fighting back, sending letters to major RAN donors. Columnist Molly Ivins also wrote that Boise Cascade is behind efforts to get the Internal Revenue Service to remove the group's tax-exempt status. The Frontiers of Freedom Institute, backed by former Wyoming Sen. Malcolm Wallop, and the Center for Defense of Free Enterprise are both tied to the property-rights "Wise Use" movement.

Frontiers of Freedom argues RAN should lose tax-exempt status because it conducts peaceful protests, writes letters to political leaders, produces street theater and supports civil disobedience. Boise Cascade spokesmen deny helping the groups.

RAN leaders promise new protests in the near future. After paying her fine, Raitt said, "I'm a lifelong activist for the environment. Standing up for issues of human rights, the environment, peace and justice are always going to be important to me."

RAN organizes against other environmentally insensitive businesses as well, such as Citigroup - the world's leading financer of oil pipelines and coal mines, and the second-top financer for timbering and metal mining companies. Last week, Chris Hatch, executive director for RAN, warned the political climate in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 tragedies could spur a "renewed interest in shutting down groups critical of industry."

"But in the long run, America has entered an era of heightened international awareness" Hatch said. "‘Out of sight, out of mind' won't work for companies like Boise Cascade or Citigroup anymore. They are going to have to institute environmental policies, including ending logging of old-growth forests and stop attacking free speech and First Amendment rights."


© Copyright 2001 The Charleston Gazette




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