misses his chance to protect salmon
Veto of AB 2575 and demise of SB 539 imperil fisheries
the sweet taste of victory on one of Forests Forever’s
leading bills (see the story on A.B. 1504 here),
we’d be remiss in not taking note of the less-than-sweet
fate of two other key measures we’d worked hard to pass.
Once again California’s stale economy has been held up
as a reason to set back a key environmental effort approved
by the state legislature.
In his veto message of A.B. 2575, the "Comprehensive Forest
Land Recovery and Restoration Act" sponsored by Forests
Forever and authored by Assemblymember Wesley Chesbro (D-North
Coast), Schwarzenegger said he cares about improving forest
practices in California. But then he argued that the forestry
pilot projects designated in A.B. 2575 would redirect scare
budget dollars and staff from existing state forestry projects.
His comment is way off the mark.
In fact the pilot projects in question already have been authorized
under the Anadromous Salmonid Protection (ASP) Rule adopted
by the BOF in September 2009 and at this writing are in the
beginning stages of launch.
A.B. 2575 would have assured that those projects would address
what the Forest Practice Rules already call for: addressing
the cumulative effects of logging in watersheds containing salmon
runs. In addition, the statute would have tamped down the agency’s
ability to scuttle or weaken the research efforts on its own.
While this governor may not understand the compelling need addressed
by A.B. 2575, residents of the North Coast and salmon fishermen
out of work know all too well the cumulative impacts of clearcut
S.B. 539 fades into the sunset
Another measure backed by Forests Forever, Senate Bill 539,
authored by Sen. Patricia Wiggins (D-Santa Rosa), quietly went
by the wayside last year.
Forests Forever sponsored S.B. 539 because it would have enlisted
the state Ocean Protection Council (OPC) in watershed restoration
efforts. It would have authorized OPC to engage in the full
range of activities needed to bring back salmon and steelhead
fisheries, both of which ultimately need healthy forest habitat
Unfortunately Wiggins’ health declined precipitously just
after the bill passed in the full Senate 27 to 12 on June 1,
2009. Before the measure could be considered by the Assembly’s
Committee on Appropriations, Wiggins canceled the hearing, leaving
the bill in permanent limbo.
“Salmon habitat restoration is more critical than ever;
every year without a salmon season adds urgency to the issue,”
said Paul Hughes, Forests Forever Executive Director. “We
are actively exploring legislative options to move the issue
forward vigorously in 2011 and beyond, and we think public awareness
is sufficient to motivate lawmakers to take action.”