OAK WOODLANDS AND JACKSON FOREST BILLS ADVANCE
Two bills Forests Forever has worked on long and hard have recently
cleared the state Senate and begun their journey through the Assembly.
Sen. Sheila Kuehl’s Oak Woodlands Protection Act (SB 1334)
passed a May 25 floor vote in the Senate, 23 to 13. Now it moves
to the Assembly, where it has been referred to the Natural Resources
and Agriculture committees. A hearing is scheduled for Monday, June
14. Resistance is expected to be fierce.
The Oak Woodlands Protection bill has been amended several times
in its passage through the legislature, but even as amended it is
well worth supporting, since it would provide a mechanism for protecting
oaks that is otherwise completely absent from state law.
As it now stands, SB 1334 would require counties containing oak
woodlands to establish an oak woodlands management plan, and would
also require developers to offset the loss of any oaks they clear.
The bill provides several ways this might be accomplished, including
restoration of oak woodlands, purchasing conservation easements,
or contributing to the Oak Woodlands Conservation Fund.
On May 25, Sen. Wesley Chesbro’s state forest system reform
bill also passed the Senate on a vote of 23 to 13. SB 1648 would
change the official purpose of California’s eight taxpayer-owned
forests– chief among them 50,000-acre Jackson State Forest
in Mendocino County– from timber production to restoration
logging, education, recreation, and research. The bill was amended
in the Senate to add protections for old growth.
The bill, as amended, would permit restoration logging to begin
on Jackson Forest, but the harvesting would be overseen by a broad-based
advisory committee, according to Vince Taylor, spokesperson for
the Jackson Forest Action Coalition. The revenues from the logging
would be used to fund operations of the forest until a new management
plan is approved, Taylor said.
Forests Forever campaigned for the state-forest / Jackson reform
legislation throughout most of 2002 and 2003. Since November 2003
we have pushed for passage of the oaks bill.
If you are one of the thousands of our supporters who wrote or called
your legislators on these bills, you deserve a hearty thank-you
for the role you played in these exciting Senate victories!
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Now the fight is on in the Assembly. Contact your assemblymember
and tell him or her to support both SB 1334, the Oak Woodlands Protection
bill, and SB 1648, Sen. Chesbro’s bill to change the purpose
of California’s eight state forests.
You can find information on how to contact your assemblymember at: