Congressional leaders still support the Quincy Library Group

Debra Moore
Members of the Quincy Library Group receive embellished coffee mugs as tokens of gratitude from the U.S. Forest Service. Dave Wood, standing, presented the mugs during the group’s Dec. 6 meeting. Seated, from left: Mike Wood, Mike Yost, George Terhune and Pat Terhune. Photo by Debra Moore

  During meetings in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., congressional leaders reiterated their support for the Quincy Library Group.

  Congressman-elect Doug LaMalfa met with QLG members in Sacramento on Nov. 26. LaMalfa is succeeding Congressman Wally Herger, a staunch supporter of the QLG and the original author of the Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Forest Recovery Act.

  “Congressman LaMalfa is committed to continuing the work of the Quincy Library Group,” Bill Wickman told fellow members of the QLG during its Dec. 6 meeting.

  “Doug LaMalfa is very anxious to help and is very supportive of the QLG,” County Forester Frank Stewart added.

  LaMalfa, who will take office in January, has been appointed to the natural resources and agriculture committees. He is a former state assemblyman and senator, who lives in neighboring Butte County.

  QLG members also met with representatives of U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer in their Washington offices.

  “The senator continues to be very supportive of Quincy,” QLG member Mike De Lasaux quoted Feintein’s staff person as saying.

  De Lasaux, along with John Sheehan, who was in the area to visit family, talked with both staffs about the future of the Quincy Library Group legislation.

  The legislation sunset Sept. 30 and, until recently, QLG members had been hopeful that it might be extended. However, with Congress about to conclude its business for the year, that hope is waning.

  De Lasaux said that Boxer’s staff seemed to appreciate learning more about the QLG from its supporters, rather than its detractors. Boxer had been an early supporter of the QLG, but later withdrew from sponsoring the legislation in the Senate.

Chips Fire salvage

  Laurence Crabtree, representing the Plumas, and Jerry Bird, representing the Lassen, said that both national forests were collaborating on salvage efforts in the aftermath of the Chips Fire.

  “The Plumas and Lassen are working together on the Chips,” Crabtree said. “Randy Moore (the regional forester) wants the salvage out.”

  With that directive, the forests plan to advertise timber sales this week.

  Crabtree said that even though a greater percentage of the Plumas burned, there was actually more salvageable timber on the Lassen.

  “There is a bigger potential for harvest,” he said.

  Bird said that there was a major reforestation opportunity on 1,000 acres, and another area was prime for helicopter harvesting.

  He said he hoped that the forest would be able to use the emergency determination option, which would cut the amount of time it normally takes to implement a sale.

  Both men were pleased that efforts to prevent erosion after the Chips Fire appeared successful.

  “It was a good test of whether the work held up after 10 inches of rain,” Bird said. “There was just a little gullying here and there,” which he said was to be expected after so much rain.

  Bird also discussed the aftermath of the Reading Fire and said that he and his staffers were “being very focused” on addressing the salvage immediately.

  He described one area of the fire as a “big reforestation headache.”

  The area represented about 1,000 acres of a burned tree plantation that would only be suitable for biomass.

  “The biomass market will be flooded,” he said.

Biomass options

  With the biomass plants in Loyalton and Westwood out of operation, the nearest site to take biomass is Wendel, located 23 miles southeast of Loyalton. This makes hauling costly.

  QLG member Mike Yost, who is also a member of the Indian Valley Community Services District, said he would be attending a major biomass conference Dec. 14. The state plans to open small regional biomass plants that will each generate 3 megawatts.

  The community services district hopes to lease a 5-acre tract of land near Greenville to the state to build a plant.

  “The smaller plants don’t address the massive tonnage still out there,” QLG member Wickman said.

  A small plant could handle the volume created by thinning 600 acres of land annually.

  Yost said even though it would be a small plant, “Greenville could use a boost like that.” It would bring revenue to the district and create local jobs.

  Efforts are still under way to reopen the Loyalton plant, which can generate 17 megawatts.

  “It looked really good a couple of months ago,” said Tim Holabird, a staffer for Congressman Tom McClintock. But he said he underestimated how difficult it could be to reopen.

  Quentin Youngblood, of the Tahoe National Forest’s Sierraville Ranger District, said that some proposed sales have received no bids because of the biomass component.

  “The issue is fundamental,” he said. “It’s the cost of hauling biomass.”

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