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Enviro Groups Request Veto of Logging Bill
Date : Mon, 01 Jul 2013 12:32:07 -0400
For Immediate Release
July 1, 2013
Contact: Jeff Tittel, 609-558-9100 <tel:609-558-9100>
Enviro Groups Request Veto of Logging Bill
A coalition of environmental groups has asked the Governor to veto
S1085/A2837, a bill allowing for commercial logging on public lands.If
signed the legislation would open up some of the most environmentally
sensitive areas in our state to logging.The bill requires that a "forest
stewardship" plan be prepared for each state park.Organizations are
concerned that the bill would hurt our open spaces, biodiversity in our
forests, public access, and pristine resources people have worked for
decades to protect.The Assembly passed the bill by a slim margin last
week, sending the legislation to the Governor's desk.
"New Jersey's State Forests and Parks belong to all of us and are held
in the public trust.This legislation breaks that trust by allowing
loggers to take over these environmentally sensitive lands.This will
result in limiting public access and environmental damage to wetlands,
waterways, and forest habitats. This bill is not enforceable and
supporters of the bill cannot see the forest for the trees.We hope the
Governor will veto the bill to protect our lands, uphold the public
trust and to stop an open season on our open spaces," said Jeff
Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.
The bill does not include adequate protections for natural resources and
has no enforcement.The bill ties the "forest stewardship" plans for
public lands to the guidance documents of the Forest Stewardship Council
"The publicly owned forests in New Jersey are under attack day in and
day out from development, invasive species, intrusive human activity,
climate change, and natural disasters. We need to protect these forests
and the vulnerable ecological assets they hold such as forested wetlands
and vernal pools through effective stewardship, not logging and
commercially-driven 'management'. We call on Governor Christie to veto
S1085 to uphold his responsibility to the taxpayers who care so deeply
about our state forests that they have paid for their protection," said
Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director, Delaware Riverkeeper Network.
Logging operations will close off large portions of our Parks to the
public.Hiking trails will be turned into logging roads, staging areas
will be clear cut, skidders and other equipment will run through streams
and wetlands.All this will lead to more erosion and stormwater runoff
impacting pristine streams and reservoirs and aquatic ecosystems.Opening
up the canopy will lead to a loss of biodiversity in our forests as more
deer and invasive species take over. Invasive species infestations would
require herbicide use which could impact sensitive streams and areas
above reservoirs and water supply intakes.
If signed this bill could also impact future open space purchases.Public
support for open space preservation could wan once people see what is
being done on land held in the public trust.When public access is
restricted for long periods of time and people see logging rigs pulling
out 100 year old oaks from our state parks, will they continue to
support future open space referendums?
The Office of Legislative Services has already estimated the program
would cost $2.7 million to implement.Loggers would have to take $2.7
million worth of trees out of our forests just to cover those costs and
additional revenue would go to the General Fund.It would not be
earmarked for restoration or stewardship projects on public lands.
"If Governor Christie can see the forests for the trees, he will quickly
veto the logging bill.He has to choose between preserving our forests
and drinking water or looking out for special interests who see forests
as a money tree," said Jim Walsh, Eastern Region Director, Food and
There has been no financial analysis to determine how much logging would
be required for New Jersey to cover the cost of the program.In the past,
the state has received $75 per tree for oaks that sold on the market for
over $2000. Without a financial analysis this could happen again under
this bill. We are giving away our forests for pennies on the dollar.
New Jersey's forests have been recognized nationally and internationally
as important, whether it is the Pinelands National Reserve and UN
Biosphere Reserve, the Highlands recognized as nationally significant
with the federal Highlands Conservation Act or designation of the
Delaware River in the Skylands region as Wild and Scenic by the
Department of Interior. These forests are not just state but national
and international treasures.
"Our public forests are the jewels of our state, and demand the
strictest protections," said Doug O'Malley, interim director of
Environment New Jersey. "This bill fails that test, and we urge Gov.
Christie to veto this legislation."
-- Kate Millsaps Conservation Program Coordinator NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club 609-656-7612 _________________________________________________________ NJ-Sierra-Chapter-Ex-Committee List Info & Archives: http://lists.sierraclub.org/archives/NJ-EXCOM.html - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - To view the Sierra Club List Terms & Conditions, see: http://www.sierraclub.org/lists/terms.asp
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