'Regulatory streamlining' bill would lead to more clearcuts!

Photo by Paul Hughes

SB 455 would hand Big Timber 20-year licenses to log!


It would be a boon for timber companies — but a bust for California's forests.

On its face, the goal of Senate Bill (SB) 455 is laudable: to increase carbon stocks on private forestlands, thus helping to mitigate greenhouse-gas emissions, while keeping regulations to a minimum for timberland owners.

But unless the bill is substantially amended — or better still, killed outright — it would fail in its carbon-sequestration goal while opening vast new wounds in previously healthy forests.

SB 455, which passed the Senate by a single vote on Jan. 30 and now awaits action in the Assembly, would allow forest landowners to prepare sweeping 20-year Watershed Timber Harvest Plans (WTHPs) that govern logging on as much as 100,000 acres of their property—and in some cases more! 

The measure is filled with vague, meaningless, and unenforceable standards concerning logging's impacts on water quality, endangered wildlife, and much more.  SB 455 would necessitate — but not provide — increased funding and staffing for state agencies already ravaged by budget and personnel cuts.

Despite the enormous increase in scale of the WTHPs over the current Timber Harvest Plans (which rarely top 1,500 acres), no additional public review time for the massive plans would be afforded beyond the current already-tight 30 days. 

And as if all that weren't enough, once approved the new — and un-appealable — WTHPs would constitute the "final environmental analysis" on the logging plan, trumping any other environmental laws on the books, including the California Environmental Quality Act! 

Please contact your local Assemblymember and Assembly Speaker John A. Perez today to vigorously oppose passage of SB 455!

Read our recent letter to Sen. Fran Pavley in opposition to SB 455 here!

Listen to Forests Forever Executive Director Paul Hughes' recent interview on the "Unspun" show on KKRN 88.5 FM Community Radio in Round Mountain, Calif. Broadcast in conjunction with the Forum for the Forests conference held in Redding on Feb. 11, 2012.


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

from Forests Forever Foundation
and the Center for American Places