After it was acquired by Charles Hurwitz and Maxxam, Pacific Lumber (a large private holder of ancient redwoods in Northern California) accelerated "liquidation logging" of the remaining ancient Headwaters forest to restructure Hurwitz's debt. This clear-cutting, which is ecologically devastating has sparked environmental lawsuits and the some of the largest environmental protests in the United States.

Since Charles Hurwitz's Maxxam acquired Pacific Lumber his record of shame has included:

  • The company's employee retirement account was raided by Hurwitz to help pay off Pacific Lumber's huge debt. The company's timber debt is $867 million.

  • For years, Pacific Lumber had harvested lumber in a sustainable way. That changed when Hurwitz' Maxxam corporation leveraged a buyout of Pacific Lumber. To finance the debt incurred from this acquisition, Hurwitz clearcut groves of ancient redwoods in the Headwaters forest and destroyed the ecosystems that these forests supported.

  • Mudslides caused by clearcutting hillsides have damaged communities and destroyed private property.

  • Pacific Lumber had its timber operator's license suspended twice in a twelve month period during 1997 and 1998 and was cited for 128 violations of California forestry regulations between 1996-1998. No comparably sized timber company has ever had its license suspended in California.

  • In September 1998, David "Gypsy" Chain was killed when a tree was felled in the direction of a group of forest activists who were attempting to protect ancient redwoods from being harvested. His family has filed a wrongful death suit against the company citing inadequate training of timber workers.
Thanks to The Alliance for Sustainable Jobs and the Environment for extra information.

Prior to Hurwitz's takeover, Pacific Lumber was well known for it's environmental consciousness and held up as an example for other companies to follow. Hurwitz, however, is held up as a corporate vulture, and along with Michael Milken, is held up as an example of what not to do with junk bonds, although Milken took the fall for both of them. He also raided the comapny pension fund to give himself a raise.

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