Guest Editorial by Monty Caid

Below you will find a list of my objections to Freshwater Tissue Co.'s application to reopen the Samoa Pulp Mill.

The Samoa Pulp Mill's new owner is planning to reopen soon and has already gotten approval from the Air Quality Management District and is seeking approval from the Water Quality Board to operate without environmental standards being met and to put off required upgrades and improvements for several years.  They plan to use millions of gallons of water a day to produce thousands of tons of pulp from live trees, mostly Tan Oaks, to make toilet paper pulp and ship it to China.

Problem #1: The past owner did not perform the upgrades that were promised.  Instead, they are asking for  permission to operate without meeting environmental laws, and they have had outstanding water bills for $millions.  When environmental laws are ignored by regulating agencies the pulp mill can pollute the air and water to a greater degree than the law allows.  These laws are in place in an effort to protect humans and other species from too much exposure to toxic chemicals.

Problem #2: To meet environmental standards, some 50 million dollars worth of upgrades are required.  How much TP will they have to sell to do that?  And how long will it take? The owner has already applied for a permit to put off completing the upgrades for three years.

Problem #3: The value of the Tan Oak has never been truly understood by our culture.  There is no tree that has given more to man or wildlife, particularly in food, directly or indirectly.  It is interesting how we view the Tan Oaks taking over clear-cut areas as being a reason for removing them.  Maybe the Tan Oak does the best job of providing food for wildlife until the original biodiversity of the forest is restored.  Damaged areas are very susceptible to invasive species takeover, so Tan Oaks should be welcomed.  Plus, the Tan Oak is not a true oak;  it is a Lithocarpus which only lives in Northern California and Southern Oregon.  All other varieties of Lithocarpus are native to Southeast Asia.

Problem #4: Mr. Simpson says toilet paper is a necessity of life.  Even if it was, we do not have to cut down established trees that have always been held sacred to the people who lived on these lands sustainably for thousands of years.  Using them for TP only shows our ignorance.

Problem #5: Why use native vegetation when we have plenty of invasive species that need to be removed from the land that has already been damaged?  What about recycled paper products?  There are environmentally conscious toilet paper companies that use recycled paper--There are tons of it.  A good mill would use invasive species plant material and recycled paper and follow all environmental law and make paper in nontoxic ways.

6/19/2010 04:40:21 pm

You make some good points.
What are they (the owners) thinking?

6/20/2010 03:57:56 am

God, with due respect,,,,you people R idiots.
You have know idea what the hell you speak about,,,
At least get Frank back here . He speaks with some knowledge. Long winded points with no understanding of the real world .That don't make a point at all . Sorry friend but that was an empty edortial.

6/20/2010 04:00:08 am

Sorry ,,last word was editorial

6/20/2010 10:15:44 am

Check out for another discussion of the Tan Oak and the problems of using them for toilet paper along with other ecological problems with Freshwater Tissue Co.'s plan.

6/20/2010 10:52:09 am

Monty's editorial brings up the whole issue of the interface between modern industry and nature -- a big issue. As far as the local pulp mill, while it does illustrate that puzzle for anyone who is willing to look at it, I've tried to restrict my comments to the narrower problem of the Samoa mill's impact on the residents of west Eureka. As a resident that seems big enough. It makes me sad and angry that so many people seem to willingly remain blind to this basic local environmental danger. I know people can deny the problem, but that's what it is -- just denial.

6/20/2010 03:35:14 pm

West ;
So you want t.p from unregulated china ,,,?
SO your real problem is,,you just dont want a mill in your HOOD ?
ALL I here ,,here , is lets let the rest of the world pay the price for what we need and use.

Lets not over see what we use .

Simpley the truth for u all right !

6/21/2010 03:55:43 am

By your logic, we should have no environmental regulation in case someone somewhere has a more polluting plant. See how we saved China and the rest of the world from pollution by allowing B.P. to continue deep water drilling despite their poor safety and environmental record. We are paying for what we use alright.

I liked Monty's suggestion of using recycled paper for toilet paper.

6/21/2010 10:40:13 am

The world is full of problems; I'm sure you know this. Over my lifetime, I've been involved in doing what I could as an individual in relation to a lot of them. What I said was that, for the purpose of this particular web site, and because it does affect me personally and directly, my comments are directed towards the environmental impact of the Samoa mill on west Eureka. China is a big country and I suspect the problem of environmental regulations there is a complex and evolving issue. I don't think it's realistic to simplify ot to T.P. production in Humboldt County versus T.P. production in China. I'm not even sure what your argument means. Are you referring to the old "chlorine-free" factor? If so, that's irrelevant if we're talking about unbleached pulp. Aside from that, the toxicity of kraft pulp making is much broader than the bleaching issue. If you mean environmental regulations are stricter in California than in China, how does that square with Freshwater's supporters claim that local regulations are too strict? I don't really understand what you are saying.

6/21/2010 10:46:34 am

How do you get this paper to recycle ?
Virgin stock !
And how many times do you think you can recycle a sheet of paper ?
Once . Then the fiber is to short to rebound !
And your, by my logic statement. I never said anything about regulations being throw out. Hows about not increasing the standards every year. And driving these companys out of business.
Grabbing at the BP headlines and comparing them to the mill.

1/13/2011 09:39:35 am

China is going to find the wood somewhere for their toilet paper. Since Sudden Oak Death is moving into the area and will probably soon be killing our tanoak in No Hum like it is in Southern Humboldt, why not utilise the resource since its days are likely limited, and since removing tanoak can be done in environmentally beneficial ways.

I have been involved in converting many acres from tanoak, much of it just scrubby material, back to more native redwood and Douglas fir forests that existed before logging. The results have been very positive with wildlife populations, forest productivity, and a greater long term potential of biomass per acre. I have seen Simpson also converting hardwood to redwoods. I look forward to seeing those redwood forests as they grow.

If we continue to stop the pulp mill, raw tanoak logs will be shipped to China to be processed. I have already been contacted by Chinese importers interested in buying raw tanoak logs.

So now Instead of processing at our local pulp mill, with maybe marginal environmental requirements, they will now be processed with probably fewer environmental restrictions in China and taking the jobs out of our area with them.

1/14/2011 10:34:26 am

sounds like a smart solution to the sudden oak death that are infecting Tan Oaks,remove them now before they get infected, instead of finding a real solution to the problem. Plus make a ton of money. way to go!

Tan Oak is not a true oak it is a unique species only growing in Oregon and N.California all other relatives live in Southeast Asia. Tan Oak is the only Lithocarpus species that is not native to Asia and only grows here.

To wildlife there is no better tree at providing food directly and in-directly. With out Tan Oaks our wildlife would struggle to survive. To Native Americans the Tan Oak is a sacred tree,and its acorns were a staple food.

Native redwood and Doug Fir forests have always included Tan Oaks, they grow together along with hundreds of other native trees and plants. There is much more to a forest than Redwoods and Doug fir, maybe what you are creating are tree farms. This practice is what causes unhealthy habitats which probably contribute to sudden oak death.

This is a tree worth saving and if they are being infected with sudden oak death we should help them survive, not destroy them anymore.


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