Testimony of Cathi Peterson before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on
Crime In the Matter of Eco-terrorism
June 9, 1998
Mr. Chairman, and Members of the Committee: I would like to take this opportunity to thank
you for the opportunity to come before you today.
My name is Cathi Peterson, and I am a resident of Meadow Valley, California. I am employed
in the logging industry as a skidder operator within the forests of the Northern Sierra Nevada.
In the five years I have worked as a logger, I have personally witnessed incidents of Eco-terrorism, and have become aware of other incidents perpetrated upon the local logging
community. Prior to becoming a logger, I was employed by the U.S. Forest Service, where we
were familiar with the eco-terrorist group known as Earth First!, and often discussed amongst
ourselves how radical and dangerous this group is, due to their propensity for sanding logging
equipment, cutting hydraulic and fuel lines, laying themselves across logging roads and spiking
These activities are not only harmful to the logging companies, as they must bear the costs of
replacing sabotaged equipment, but to the men and women themselves who work in an already
unforgiving and inherently dangerous occupation. It only takes the strategic placement of a
monkey wrench or a pair of bolt cutters to forever change the life of a hard working individual.
It is not mere coincidence Earth First! Founder Dave Foreman wrote his infamous “Guide To
Monkey-Wrenching” using that particular title.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines terrorism as the intentional use of terror and
intimidation to gain a political goal. The term Eco-terrorism is defined as the intentional use of
terror and intimidation to gain an ecological goal; ie: a total ban on logging, mining, ranching,
fishing, hunting, etc.
I became a victim of Eco-terrorism in 1994, when hydraulic lines were cut on a piece of logging
equipment on the job I was on. Two years later, I was once again victimized by an Eco-terrorist
when a fuel line on my skidder was partially cut through, allowing me to enter the forest, and
then experience an equipment failure which resulted in my skidder stalling on a steep slope.
Since that time I have suffered mental anxiety, and am constantly concerned for my personal
safety. Each morning I arrive at the job-site prepared to encounter sabotaged equipment, and
inspect the landing area much as a soldier would inspect a battle-ground for a mine-field. I look
at every footprint and tire track to see if they match those belonging to my crew. If they do not,
I am then left to wonder whether or not they were made by a casual observer curious about our
equipment and activities; or were they made by an Eco-terrorist with darker plans in mind?
I personally inspect every nut and bolt holding the wheels onto my skidder; and at the fuel,
hydraulic and brake reservoirs and lines specifically…Should an Eco-terrorist want to cause
injury or worse, all he/she would have to do is loosen or cut any of the above items.
As a victim of Eco-terrorism, I would like to ask that you please consider the seriousness of
these crimes against the men and women who work within natural resources, and extend to us
the same rights and protections afforded to the rest of the American public. By addressing this
issue, you have taken the first steps to give myself and other resource workers the opportunity to
work within a crime-free environment, and the knowledge that the perpetrators will be pursued
and punished for their actions.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
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