San Jose Metro Article 1/4/06 On Withdrawal of NTMP

Article by Vrinda Normand, Metro reporter:

Tree Reprieve

In a surprise twist, San Jose Water Company has withdrawn its plan to log 1,000 acres on the Los Gatos Creek watershed. The move comes after Metro's recent story on the logging plan ("Chopping Mad," MetroNews, Dec. 7) exposed potential risks the timber harvest could pose to fire safety, water quality and the lifestyle of over 4,000 people living near the logging zone. This is a huge victory for residents opposed to the proposal, who formed NAIL (Neighbors Against Irresponsible Logging) and then went on to put one in the coffin of the company's plan, at least for the time being. In the past four months, NAIL members have collected over 2,000 petition signatures, presented their concerns to county supervisors and held community meetings with hundreds attending. "The plan to harvest the watershed was deeply flawed and poorly executed from the very beginning," NAIL members wrote in their response to San Jose Water's press release. San Jose Water said it will resubmit the logging proposal in the spring of 2006 after it completes a fire protection study and provides further information to the California Department of Forestry. Jodi Frediani, the consultant hired by NAIL to analyze the 450-page document, said CDF should have never accepted it for filing in the first place. The state agency needed clarification on 100 items after the first review—evidence, Frediani believes, of the proposal's shortcomings. CDF official Leslie Markham told Metro it's not unusual to have so many questions about logging plans of this size. Meanwhile, NAIL is taking this opportunity to plug for an alternative, urging San Jose Water to seek a conservation easement on its property.

Emmanuelle Pancaldi
January 6, 2006