A delay sometimes can be a good thing!

In the case of A.B. 1005, the Forests Forever-sponsored bill to once again fund timber harvest inspections by the California Dept. of Fish & Game (DFG), the bill’s author recently decided to reclassify the measure as a two-year bill. This delays action on the measure until as late as January 2012 — and in so doing probably has boosted the bill's chances of passage.

Photo by Paul Hughes, Forests Forever Introduced in February by Assemblymember Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento), A.B. 1005 was headed for a showdown in an Assembly that pays heed when Big Timber’s lobbying contingent goes on a rampage. But rather than let the bill die in an Assembly shootout orchestrated by timber-industry opposition, Dickinson gave it shelter behind the two-year status.

Where such matters are concerned, time is often on our side: Two-year status gives Forests Forever more time to organize for its passage.

Accordingly, A.B. 1005 needs a strong public show of support now!
A groundswell of support now will remind legislators that reinforcements are coming in the fight to protect watersheds. Please let your Assemblymember know that A.B. 1005 is vital to protecting the state’s wildlife, water supplies, forest-area local economies, tourism industry and recreational opportunities.

The measure would restore funding for DFG timber-harvest inspections across vast timber-producing regions of California.

“If there’s one thing we’ve learned it’s that the timber industry can’t be trusted to police itself in the woods,” said Forests Forever Executive Director Paul Hughes. “This bill shouldn’t be controversial because it restores funding only for the monitoring that had been going on previously. It reverses a small but crucial cut.”

Just before leaving office Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger exercised his line-item veto power to completely eliminate the DFG’s budget for on-the-ground inspections of logging operations covering virtually all of the Sierra Nevada’s forests, and the vast Modoc and Shasta regions of northern interior California.

Photo by Paul Hughes, Forests ForeverIronically, Schwarzenegger’s ostensibly money-saving cut to DFG garnered a mere $1.5 million for state coffers in the short term – but potentially will cost taxpayers much more down the line.

On top of costs to restore degraded watersheds, rebuild salmon runs, and safeguard and restore endangered species, forestland towns will bear the brunt of lost tourism and recreation dollars as valuable environmental amenities succumb to bulldozers, skidders, fellerbunchers and other brutal incursions onto the landscape.

On-the-ground inspections and review of timber operations—before, during, and after cutting-- are principal ways the DFG protects the natural resources of California’s forests.

Schwarzenegger’s veto left only a few DFG employees in place to inspect timber harvests, and then only on the North Coast.

Dickinson introduced A.B. 1005 to ensure that the DFG not only retains the personnel and expertise needed to inspect timber harvests throughout California, but in so doing can cover its costs. A.B. 1005 would require the timber companies to pay a reasonable and modest sum to cover DFG’s timber-harvest inspections, which currently are billed to taxpayers.

The bill’s provisions also would help other state agencies with unique expertise in their fields, as well as trustee responsibility for forest resources. These include the various regional water-quality-control boards, the California Geological Survey, and the California Coastal Commission.

View the text and legislative history of A.B. 1005 here


Write your State Assembly leaders TONIGHT...

Contact Speaker of the Assembly John A. Pérez
. Urge him to support A.B. 1005 to assure that the DFG is given the resources needed to inspect timber harvests throughout California. Visit his website here. Email him here.

Write, fax, or call:

Capitol Office
State Capitol
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0046
Tel: (916) 319-2046
Fax: (916) 319-2146

District Office
320 West 4th Street
Room 1050
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Tel: (213) 620-4646
Fax: (213) 620-6319

Also contact Assemblymember Roger Dickinson and thank him for introducing A.B. 1005. Let him know you support his plan to reinstate and fund DFG timber inspections throughout California. Email him here (constituents only).

Write, fax or call:

Capitol Office:
State Capitol
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0009
(916) 319 - 2009
(916) 319 - 2109 Fax
District Office:
915 L Street, Suite 110
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 324-4676
(916) 327-3338 fax

In addition, in districts other than Dickinson’s or Perez’, contact to your Assemblymember and ask his or her support for A.B. 1005. To find your Assemblymember and contact information, visit the California State Assembly Internet portal.

Letter Writing Tips
• Print your name and address under your signature.
• Make sure your letter is clearly legible and in your own words.
• Ask for a response in writing, informing you how they will address your concerns.

[sample letter]

Dear __________,

I am writing to urge your support for A.B. 1005 (Dickinson), which would restore much-needed funding for the inspection of logging operations, protecting wildlife and watershed and recreation values in California's forests— while potentially saving taxpayers millions in cleanup and other environmental costs.
In keeping with the principle of "polluter pays," A.B. 1005 would require the timber companies to pay for these inspections, which currently are funded by the taxpayers.
Please give your vote and your active support to this vital measure.


[your signature]

Please make a generous donation today!


Forests Forever:
Their Ecology, Restoration, and Protection
John J. Berger

from Forests Forever Foundation
and the Center for American Places