EPIC Marks Third Decade of Forest and Watershed Advocacy

EPIC Marks Third Decade of Forest and Watershed Advocacy

November 1, 2007

For more information, please contact: Scott Greacen, EPIC, 707-822-7711

On Friday, November 9th, the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) will celebrate thirty years of working to protect the forests, watersheds, fish and wildlife of northwestern California. EPIC’s Annual Meeting and celebration, to be held at the Mateel Community Center in Redway, will feature a gourmet dinner prepared by Chef René Pineda of Garberville’s “House of B” and a dance with the funky Afro-Brazilian music of SambaDá. Recipients of this year’s Sempervirens award—presented annually to activists who have demonstrated lifelong commitment to environmental protection – will be EPIC founders and early activists Marylee Bytheriver, Ruthanne Cecil, and Robert “Woods” Sutherland.

As well, with new frontiers opening for regional environmental advocacy, EPIC’s board has named a new Executive Director to lead EPIC’s committed community. Scott Greacen has served as EPIC’s National Forest Program Coordinator since 2003. In his former role, Greacen has helped to redefine EPIC’s role in forest policy, both working to save old growth forests from the chainsaw, and also negotiating a groundbreaking agreement with community forestry advocates to promote ecologically beneficial thinning projects in the forests around Hayfork.

Greacen, 43, received his bachelor’s degree from Reed College, and his law degree, cum laude, from the noted Environmental Law program at Lewis and Clark College in Oregon. He lives with his wife, Greta, and two children in Bayside. “We’re very pleased that Scott has agreed to take on this key role at this critical time,” said Noah Levy, EPIC’s Board President. “Scott’s mastery of law and policy, his excellent relations with our allies, and his strong vision of EPIC’s future will help EPIC turn to meet new challenges.”

“EPIC has an incredible record of achievement, especially for such a small group,” Greacen said, “It’s truly an honor to be asked to serve the organization, and its community, in this larger capacity. There are challenging and exciting times ahead for the region, and EPIC is going to need to play key roles. We’re building a new team around our core strengths and strong principles, and we’re going to build out from our successes to help create lasting solutions.”

The Little Group that Could

“EPIC was formed to help citizens address threats like herbicide spraying, excessive logging, and damage to the clean air, clean water, ancient redwoods, and healthy ecological processes that are so central to our amazing corner of the continent. EPIC’s work helped to protect the King Range and Gilham Butte; the Sinkyone State Wilderness lands; key habitats for many imperiled species, including Headwaters Forest and other ancient redwoods; Humboldt Bay and the entire Eureka/Arcata area from the risks of a Liquified Natural Gas terminal. EPIC’s long track record of achievement is rooted in a unique blend of technical and scientific savvy and a gutsy, independent spirit. As one of very few groups willing and able to take on big timber corporations and recalcitrant agencies, EPIC has long been a state and national leader in efforts to reform the destructive impacts of industrial forest practices. EPIC has fought for responsible industrial forest practices and land-use policy, seeking sustainable futures for both natural and human communities.

EPIC’s legal actions have set important precedents in both California and federal law, and have resulted in key regulatory changes. EPIC litigation in 1983-85 established the requirement for state agencies to consider “cumulative impacts” in evaluating Timber Harvest Plans (THPs). The requirement for surveys of imperiled wildlife was instituted as a result of EPIC litigation in the mid-1990s.

A New Era for Northwest California?

After nearly a generation of stalwart resistance to Maxxam’s looting of Pacific Lumber and the forests and watersheds on its lands, EPIC is committed to releasing that strangle-hold by Maxxam. As Pacific Lumber winds its way through bankruptcy, EPIC is working as part of the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors to see Pacific Lumber forest lands thrive under more conservation-minded ownership. As a member of the creditors’ committee, EPIC works to help secure the interests of all creditors — a position EPIC views as entirely consistent with our long advocacy of sustainable operations for PL.

And new challenges beckon. Climate change brings a fresh urgency to efforts to maintain functional ecological systems and viable populations of rare species. With the largest concentration of wild country and free-flowing rivers on the West Coast, northern California’s environmental treasures form a critically important safe harbor for species that are now found nowhere else. This region is poised to serve as an Ark that can help to carry many species into the future – if we take smart, effective action to protect the vessel now. With a program that looks at land and water, including public and industrial forests across the region, and a history of leveraging litigation into substantial environmental protection, EPIC is poised to help lead the region into a more promising future.