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Nader Letter on Headwaters Forest

  Distributed to TAP-RESOURCES, a free Internet Distribution List
  (subscription requests to listproc@tap.org) 
  (please distribute freely)
  August 8, 1996
  	The Headwaters forest, the largest privately owned stand of
  redwoods in the world is once again the focus of negotiations to bring it
  under federal management. The Clinton administration is currently in
  negotiations with Charles Hurwitz and the Pacific Lumber Co. on a possible
  swap of existing public assets for a portion of Headwaters Forest. 
  Attached is a letter from Ralph Nader to Bill Clinton regarding the
  negotiations with Hurwitz.  For background on the efforts to save
  Headwaters, see TAP's website at <http://www.tap.org> and the
  Multinational Monitor's September 1994 articles _Ravaging the Redwoods_ at
  http://www.essential.org/monitor/hyper/mm0994.html.  The best book on the
  struggle over Headwaters is _Timber Wars_ by Judi Bari, published by
  Common Courage Press.  It is available at some bookstores or from the
  publisher at PO Box 702 / Monroe, ME 04951 / Tel:(207) 525-0900, Fax (207)
  	As negotiations between Hurwitz and the Clinton administration 
  continue, a grassroots coalition of organizations continues to battle 
  for permanent public ownership and protection of the entire 60,000 acres 
  of Headwaters.  This coalition, the Headwaters Forest Coordinating 
  Committee, can be contacted at <epic@igc.apc.org>, or
  					Arthur Clark-ERIN
  *	*	*	*	*	*	*	*	*	*
  						  July 23, 1996
  William Jefferson Clinton
  President of the United States
  1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
  Washington, D.C. 20500
  Dear President Clinton,
  I am writing to you regarding the fate of the Headwaters Forest, 
  the largest privately held redwood stand in the world. The forest 
  is presently owned by the Pacific Lumber Co. which became the 
  subject of a takeover by Charles Hurwitz and the MAXXAM Corporation 
  in 1985. Mr. Hurwitz and the Maxxam Corporation, also the parent 
  company of the failed savings and loan, United Savings Association 
  of Texas (USAT), have been accused of self dealing and causing the 
  thrift' s failure in a civil suit filed by the Office of Thrift 
  Supervsion. The estimated cost to taxpayers of USAT's failure is 
  $1.6 billion.  USAT purchased over $1.3 billion worth of Drexel 
  Burnam Lambert underwritten junk bonds. During the same time 
  period, according to an FDIC lawsuit against Michael Milken, 
  "the Milken Group raised about $1.8 billion of financing for Mr. 
  Hurwitz'stakeover ventures". One such takeover resulted in Mr. 
  Hurwitz's control of the Headwaters Forest.
  Earlier this week, the Associated Press reported that 
  administration officials have been holding meetings on a possible 
  deal which would give Mr. Hurwitz development rights on the Navy-
  owned Treasure Island or other taxpayer assets in exchange for 
  3,000 acres of Headwaters Forest. It is unconscionable to trade a 
  valuable publicly owned asset such as San Francisco Bay's Treasure 
  Island for the Headwaters forest, especially when ongoing
  proceedings, administrative and in court, could affect Mr. 
  Hurwitz's control of Headwaters.
  This priceless forest should be protected for the enjoyment of 
  all Americans and public ownership is the best avenue for 
  accomplishing this significant public purpose. I do not
  believe, however, that your administration should kowtow to Mr. 
  Hurwitz who represents the antithesis of "corporate responsibility" 
  a theme recently echoed by your White Houseat a recent gathering of 
  corporate executives. The failure of USAT was a devastating blow
  to citizens who had invested their savings in the institution and 
  will continue to be a burden on taxpayers of this country for many 
  years to come.
  Your administration's priorities with regard to Mr. Hurwitz and 
  the Maxxam Corporation should begin with recovering the one billion 
  dollars of taxpayer money that went to bailing out USAT, through 
  which Hurwitz raised the capital for the takeover of Pacific Lumber.
  If your administration proves what the Office of Thrift Supervsion 
  already alleges, then Headwaters Forest can become part of the public 
  domain as a portion of Hurwitz's and Maxxam's debt to society.
  In terms of ecological priorities, we should respect the needs 
  of the entire ecosystem rather than protecting small, isolated 
  islands of trees. Given that 96 percent of redwoods in the U.S. have 
  been logged, it behooves us to protect our remaining old-growth
  redwood forests in a way that guarantees future generations a chance 
  to enjoy these American treasures.
  Your administration should not consider any transfer to Mr. Hurwitz 
  or his enterprises and should hold a public hearing to allow taxpayers 
  to comment on how their assets are managed. I look forward to hearing 
  from you on this issue.
  Ralph Nader
  P.O. Box 19312
  Washington, DC 20036
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