Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Lumber assessment bill signed into law

A proposed assessment on lumber that has drawn mixed reviews within the timber and retail industries was signed into law this week by Gov. Jerry Brown.

From the California Farm Bureau Federation, which supported the measure:
Forestry-reform legislation signed today by Gov. Brown offers real relief to Californians and an important boost to rural regions, according to the leader of the state’s largest agricultural organization.

California Farm Bureau Federation President Paul Wenger said Assembly Bill 1492 will make California-grown wood more competitive and benefit jobs in rural communities that have suffered under current forest rules.

“We thank Gov. Brown for supporting and signing the reforms,” Wenger said. “The new law will benefit an important enterprise that prides itself on environmental stewardship while providing good-paying jobs in rural areas with high unemployment.”

The bill extends the length of state-required timber harvest plans, pays for plan review through a 1 percent assessment on retail lumber purchases and limits wildfire liability for landowners neighboring government-owned lands.

“By placing reasonable limits on the amount of damages the federal government can seek from private landowners, the reforms should reduce hidden costs for consumers that are passed along in utility bills and wildfire insurance rates,” Wenger said.

He said the new law will allow the timber harvest planning process to be streamlined and improved, generating economic activity while maintaining environmental protection.

“Passage of this important law required bipartisan support in both houses of the Legislature, and we appreciate the elected representatives who stood up for California jobs by voting for the bill,” Wenger said. “California forestland owners will continue to abide by the most stringent environmental protections in the nation, but this new law gives our timber business a chance to compete fairly against out-of-state lumber.”

The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of more than 74,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 6.2 million Farm Bureau members.