A.B. 1492 funds timber harvest monitoring!
Forests Forever fought to restore funds former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had slashed from the state's already-meager timber harvest-inspection budget. We refused to trust logging companies to self-police their compliance with environmental rules. Thanks to the passage of Assembly Bill 1492, California now has a generous revenue stream headed toward funding on-the-ground inspections of logging operations by the state's Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, as well as other oversight of forestry, to protect water, fish, wildlife, and soils.
Fending off the timber-harvest-inspection fund raiders! Never letting down our guard, Forests Forever fought to stave off the lumber retailers lobby, which in 2013 went after the funding from A.B. 1492, seeking to drain off exhorbitant setup fees to collect the tax. We headed the raiders off at the state Board of Equalization and helped make sure the money will flow where it is supposed to: protecting forests.
Timber Harvest Working Group weighs in! Forests Forever has a seat in the Timber Harvest Working Group (THWG), a broad-based panel made up of industry, agency, and environmental representatives, together exploring ways to streamline the state's regulation of timber harvesting while at the same time safeguarding our forests' natural values. These ongoing talks have been productive, especially in the area of measuring and controlling logging's cumulative watershed impacts.
Pressing to establish pilot projects! Partly through our efforts in the THWG, Forests Forever-sponsored A.B. 875 was introduced. This bill would have set up two pilot projects to develop and implement standard methods of assessing and regulating logging's environmental impacts -- a long-ignored but core requirement of the state's forestry laws. As you read this we are pushing for 875's contents to be carried forward in a different vehicle: the state's Natural Resources Agency budget. Our lobbyists recently began to meet with Resources agency officials to get this done as early as possible in 2014.
Your participation is essential in safeguarding California's magnificent forests and wildlife habitat, fresh water, clean air, local economies, and recreational opportunities they sustain.
We advocate full time for forests! Forests Forever continues to be the only organization with a lobbying presence in the state capital that advocates solely on behalf of California's forests year round! The litany of bad ideas that must be defeated, and forward-looking reforms that must be brought about, has never dwindled. Fortunately, not only have we had seasoned Legislative Advocate Luke Breit working for us, but also in 2013 we brought on board Legislative Advocate Justin Malan of EcoConsult. Justin brought extensive contacts in the legislature, agencies, and governor's office, as well as more than 25 years' experience in Sacramento as a legislative and agency consultant and independent advocate. In 2013 Breit and Malan participated in numerous meetings with elected and agency officials and representatives of the governor's office, and wrote letters, spoke at hearings, and networked with staff in the legislative and executive branches.
Our year-round education efforts roll ahead! Through our e-mail alerts, website, Facebook page and Phone Canvass Program we keep the public apprised of current forest controversies. We're heartened to see an upsurge in habitat restoration projects -- the freeing of natural streams from obsolete dams to bring back salmon runs, and re-seeding streams with large woody debris to create riffles and pools for spawning fish and invertebrates. And there is a growing awareness of forests' role in conserving biodiversity as well as in providing clean and abundant water. Forests Forever's unrelenting outreach work helps boost these and other welcome trends.
Strengthening A.B. 904! Assemblymember Wesley Chesbro's A.B. 209 raised environmentalists' objections by allowing non-commercial landowners to log up to 15,000 acres of forested land compared to the previous limit of 2,500 acres -- so long as they practiced uneven-age management (no clearcuts) and assured a sustainable yield. Forests Forever fought to strengthen the bill in many areas, especially with regard to oversight, reporting requirements and transparency. The legislature passed an improved measure and Gov. Jerry Brown signed it into law.
Countering the climate deniers! Notwithstanding the publicity still accorded to a small number of climate-change Know-Nothings, worldwide action on and concern about global warming continues to build. Along with this surge in consciousness has come an increasing awareness of how the warming hurts forests and how logging as now practiced dumps unnecessarily large quantities of carbon into the atmosphere. Forests Forever continued last year to monitor California's emerging cap-and-trade program and its impact on forests. We refuse to allow timber companies to reap carbon credits through forest clearcutting!
We couldn't do it without you! In this and all the challenges and opportunities discussed above Forests Forever intends to play an effective and central role. As ever, your letters, calls, emails, and of course, financial support are what enable us to get it done. Thanks!
Give today so that tomorrow's forests will flourish!