UPDATE: Activists Disrupt Monday Morning at Biomass Plant In Eugene
Three people were arrested at a protest yesterday at the Seneca-Jones Biomass plant in north Eugene. The Lane County Sheriff's Office says about 100 people gathered outside the facility to oppose the bio-mass operation and the company's plans to log old growth trees in southwest Oregon.
The state of Oregon recently finalized the sale of a nearly 800 acre tract of the Elliott State Forest called East Hakki Ridge to Seneca Jones. Environmentalists with Earth First! and Cascadia Forest Defenders say the area is home to the federally protected marbled murrelet.
At the Monday protest, two of the activists locked themselves to mill equipment. Others climbed on equipment and blocked entrances, interfering with mill operations. Deputies shut down a portion of Enid Road during the response.
Todd Payne is vice president and general manager of Seneca sawmill.
Payne: "I think it was a premeditated, planned criminal act by a group of radical activists that came upon the property without permission and trespassed. And then put themselves and our employees and law enforcement officials in harm's way."
As for East Hakki Ridge, Payne says Seneca has "no immediate plans" and that it will be "managed" with its other 165,000 acres of tree farm.
Three protesters were arrested. One has been charged with Burglary. All three face charges of Criminal Trespass and Disorderly Conduct. They were lodged at the Lane County Jail.
Dozens of activists with Earth First! and Cascadia Forest Defenders showed up at the Seneca Jones Biomass Plant in North Eugene Monday morning to protest the company's plans to log old growth trees in southwest Oregon.
The state of Oregon recently finalized the sale of a 788 acre tract of the Elliott State Forest to Seneca Jones.
Cordelia Finley with Cascadia Forest Defenders says the groups turned to direct action to protest the company's intent to log the area called East Takki Ridge.
Cordelia Finley: "And Kathy Jones has been outspoken about her plans and the company's plans to clear cut East Takki, which is documented habitat for the rare and protected marbled murrelet."
The marbled murrelet is a federally protected seabird.
Finley says some activists locked themselves to equipment to try to shut down the plant. Seneca Jones burns forest debris at its biomass plant in Eugene. Finley says this pollutes the air affecting the health of nearby residents.
KLCC contacted Seneca Jones but has not received a call back.