Nearly 100 activists with Cascadia Forest Defenders and Earth First! converged on the Seneca Jones biomass plant today protesting the company’s privatization of public lands in the Elliott State Forest in Oregon and ongoing pollution in West Eugene.
Several people locked themselves to equipment at the plant, halting a conveyor belt and blocking a “truck dump” where biomass is loaded into the incinerator, while dozens of protesters rallied outside the gates. A banner was dropped off of a tower reading: “Seneca Jones: Privatizing the coast range, polluting West Eugene.” After police extracted the blockaders, three were taken to Lane County Jail and are facing several charges, including misdemeanor criminal mischief and felony burglary.
The activists brought attention to Seneca Jones Timber’s role in privatizing the Elliott State Forest. This month Seneca closed on their purchase of 788 acres in the Elliott, called East Hakki Ridge. Co-owner of Seneca Kathy Jones recently expressed the company’s intention to clearcut East Hakki and replace it with Douglas fir plantation.
Cascadia Forest Defender Richard Haley commented, “However Kathy Jones paints it, her company is a bad neighbor everywhere it operates. Here in Eugene, Seneca pollutes. In the Elliott, Seneca clearcuts and puts up ‘no trespassing’ signs in pristine, never before logged forest. East Hakki is no longer a place where locals can go hunt, fish, hike, camp or watch birds. Now it is corporate property.”