A top resource official for timber giant Sierra Pacific Industries says he hopes a judge’s scathing ruling in the company’s favor will deter overzealous state regulators.
Retired Superior Court Judge Leslie C. Nichols found the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection guilty of “egregious and reprehensible” actions while investigating the 2007 Moonlight Fire and ordered the agency to pay more than $30 million in penalties and legal fees, The Associated Press reported.
Nichols, who was appointed to the case by the state Supreme Court, said Feb. 4 that Cal Fire’s efforts to blame SPI and other landowners were corrupt and tainted, according to the wire service.
Dan Tomascheski, SPI’s vice president in charge of resources, said the company’s relations with the state’s firefighting agency have been positive.
“There are a lot of good, professional and ethical people working at Cal Fire,” Tomascheski said in an interview at the Sierra Cascade Logging Conference here on Feb. 6. “They’re one of the world’s best firefighting agencies and we need their support. This was about I think a few individuals who, in pursuing financial gain, let their vision get clouded by the prospect of extracting a large settlement from us,” he said. “I think their investigations going forward are going to be carefully done and be meticulous. There won’t be a rush to judgment. They’ll do their job.”
From Capital Press: http://www.capitalpress.com/article/20140207/ARTICLE/140209907/1020