Governor signs Dahle forestry bill to streamline fuel reduction paperwork
SACRAMENTO — A bill extending a California law that reduces the paperwork burden on landowners working to thin their forests in fire-prone regions of the state has been signed into law.
Assembly Bill 2029, authored by Assemblyman Brian Dahle, R-Bieber, extends a pilot program created in 2013 by Dahle’s AB 744. The law grants landowners exemptions from the requirement to file a Timber Harvest Plan for small-scale thinning projects that cut trees up to 24 inches in diameter, preserving larger trees and making room for them to grow. The pilot program targets regions of California at high risk of wildfires.
“This program is still new,” Dahle said, “but I’ve heard from multiple landowners in Northern California that it is a critical tool. The cost of preparing a Timber Harvest Plan makes basic forest maintenance — the work we want to encourage for long-term health of the trees — a money-loser. Streamlining the bureaucratic burdens makes this work affordable for landowners. And doing that creates jobs in rural California.”
In addition to extending the pilot program through the year 2021, AB 2029 requires a study from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection on the use of the exemption, and creates a path toward expanding the largest trees that can be cut under the exemption from 24 inches to 26 inches, measured at 8 inches from the ground.
“We need to strike a balance so landowners don’t neglect their property because of the cost of regulation,” Dahle said. “I’ve seen these projects on the ground. The results make me confident this is a path that allows sound forestry while protecting the environment.”
Dahle represents California’s 1st Assembly District, including all or parts of Butte, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, and Siskiyou counties.
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