Lumber company wants to sell 29,000 acres redwoods in NorCal |

Lumber company wants to sell 29,000 acres redwoods in NorCal

Associated Press

EUREKA, Calif. (AP) ” A lumber company struggling to emerge from bankruptcy is seeking permission to sell land that is home to some of the state’s most majestic redwood stands.

Pacific Lumber Co. has asked a U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Texas for permission to sell nearly 29,000 acres of Northern California redwood forest and to continue logging the rest.

A statement seeking approval of the 102-page proposal was made public Monday by Pacific Lumber President George O’Brien.

“This plan saves a 140-year-old company and creates a viable forest products enterprise that can provide excellent long-term jobs,” O’Brien said.

The company asked for court protection from creditors in January. It wasn’t able to make payments on about $714 million in bonds ” a holdover from debt accrued by Houston financier Charles Hurwitz, who bought the company in 1986.

Environmentalists, who pitched a battle in the 1990s to preserve the trees, now are afraid Hurwitz will use the bankruptcy to break out of logging restrictions Pacific Lumber had agreed to in a 1998 deal.

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It will be up to the Bankruptcy Court Judge Richard Schmidt to decide whether to accept Pacific Lumber’s plan or let bondholders propose their own solution for dealing with the lands.

A hearing is scheduled before Schmidt on Oct. 23, in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press.