LG Daily Notes Gore's Support of NAIL Objectives

The following article appeared in the Saturday, Dec. 2, 2006 Los Gatos Daily.  It was written by Kristen Munsen.


Gore backs anti-logging effort

Former vice president signed local petition against a proposed tree-cutting plan watershed Los Gatos Creek watershed

By Kristen Munson / Daily News Staff Writer

A local grass-roots effort against logging in the Los Gatos mountains received support this week from globally renowned environmentalist Al Gore.

The former vice president signed a petition opposing the proposed logging of 1,002 acres of the Los Gatos Creek watershed by the San Jose Water Company.

Gore, maker of the film "An Inconvenient Truth," signed the online petition and prepared a statement for the members of the Neighbors Against Irresponsible Logging, or NAIL organization.

"The proposal is deeply flawed, the commercial logging of these trees simply makes no sense," Gore said in the statement. "Forests like these are worth fighting to save. As one of the largest stands of coastal redwoods in Santa Clara County and adjacent to Silicon Valley, this healthy forest is performing many vital unseen functions including storing carbon dioxide, which reduces global warming."

The San Jose Water Company owns the land and maintains that its Non-Industrial Timber Management Plan will reduce the risk of fire by thinning the forest and will not harm the water quality.

"They make the claim that this is good for fire prevention, but it's not accurate science," said Kevin Flynn, one of NAIL's steering committee members.

Gore saw a presentation on Google Earth put together by NAIL member Rebecca Moore this spring.

"He was really struck by it," she said. "He asked me if there was anything else he could do and I was stunned. He was genuinely concerned."

Gore was impressed by the mountain residents' effort to educate themselves about the details of the proposal, he said in the statement.

He signed the petition Nov. 14 - one of about 5,000 signatures on the document so far - and gave NAIL his backing.

Water company officials are drafting a letter to Gore, inviting him to tour the watershed and talk to their forestry and fire experts.

"We would welcome Al Gore's involvement in this project and we are disappointed that he has not contacted us," said John Tang, community projects liaison for the water company. "We are confident that he will come to the conclusion that both he and our organization share the same goals about the environment."

Three national fire experts hired by the neighbors' organization reviewed the fire hazard assessment prepared by TSS Consultants for the water company and submitted reports last month.

One criticized the fire behavior analysis in the assessment report, while others stated that removing forest canopy would not effectively reduce potential fire activity. Two recommended controlled burns of the forest instead, a move water company officials said poses a threat to the mountain area residents.

"Typically prescribed burns happen on public lands ... very few people do it on private land because of the threat of it getting away," said David Gantz, fire expert for TSS Consultants.

Gantz said he plans to formally respond to the three experts hired by NAIL.

"Those letters are opinion and ours is a complete scientific analysis," he said. "I think we did a strong assessment based on solid science."

E-mail Kristen Munson at kmunson@dailynewsgroup.com.



Terry Clark
December 3, 2006