Roseburg Forest Products Files Suit to Protect Water Rights

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Company Pledges to Continue Working with the City of Weed to find Alternative Source of Water for Community

Our company and its employees who live in Weed and need water as much as anyone are extremely concerned that the city has not taken this matter more seriously

Roseburg Forest Products today announced it has filed a lawsuit to restore longstanding water rights it says were illegally taken from the company by the Scotts Valley and Shasta Valley Watermaster District (SSWD).

The suit, filed Friday in Siskiyou County Superior Court (case number: SCSCCV-PT-14-0001030), alleges that its water rights were reapportioned to other interests “impermissibly and illegally.”

The issue is critical to Roseburg’s operations, which require water to process wood veneer and generate power that is used by its Weed facility as well as commercial and residential ratepayers, company officials said. Additionally, the suit serves as a reminder that Roseburg has been providing the City of Weed free water, pursuant to a 50-year lease agreement set to expire in 2016.

As a “watermaster,” SSWD’s primary function is to ensure that water in a river or stream system is distributed in accordance with established rights. Contrary to its legal authority, the SSWD has sought to modify existing water rights that were initially granted in 1932 and transferred to Roseburg when it purchased the land from the previous owner in 1982, according to the suit.

The SSWD, without notifying Roseburg, unilaterally apportioned some of Roseburg’s water to another local company, J.H. Baxter & Co., the suit states.

Roseburg has offered and continues to offer to sell a portion of its water to the city, as well as provide funding for projects to drill for wells that would help the city address its imminent need to secure a reliable source of water, said Ellen Porter, a Roseburg spokesperson.

“Our company and its employees who live in Weed and need water as much as anyone are extremely concerned that the city has not taken this matter more seriously,” Porter said. “We hope a secondary benefit of our lawsuit will be to shine a light on the need for the community to work together to find a solution to what has become an unnecessary battle over Roseburg’s longstanding water rights."

She said that Roseburg remains committed to helping find a solution for Weed.

“Since 1982, Roseburg has played an integral role in making Weed a great place to live – providing jobs, generating tax revenue and donating to local charities,” said Porter. “We hope this lawsuit will provide the impetus for our elected officials to take a leadership role in making sure all of us in Weed will have ample water for years to come. Roseburg stands ready to work constructively with the city to make that a reality.”

Roseburg Forest Products is a closely-held manufacturer of lumber, particleboard, softwood and hardwood plywood, engineered wood products and specialty panels. The company owns land and facilities in the Northwest and Southern regions of the United States. To learn more about the company please visit the website.

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Stevan Allen
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