OPPOSE AB 2889, action to save our forests from loggers.

“The Greatest Threat to Our Planet Is the Belief That Someone Else Will Save It”

AB 2889 takes alot of transparency out of timber harvesting by throwing out CEQA review, takes public feedback away permanently, literally no oversight of timber harvesting plans and we, as environmentalists will never be able to stop or object to a timber harvest plan. THINK COASTAL LOGGING!!!! Please send or copy the letter below. Letters have to be addressed and are the best option. If you are wondering how to make an impact below is the order of preference for getting your letter recorded and read. Thanks to all who take action to save our forests, biodiversity and watersheds.   

In general, the order of influence by members of the public is:
– in person meetings, then direct phone calls
– personal letters (not form letters)
– emails (not form emails)
– actual, live-signed petitions
– form letters and emails
– internet petitions and electronically generated form letters.

“The Greatest Threat to Our Planet Is the Belief That Someone Else Will Save It”

Subject:  Oppose AB 2889

April 16, 2018

Dear Representatives:

California State Assembly Committee on Natural Resources 1020 N Street, Room 164 Sacramento, CA 95814 (916) 319-2092.

Assembly Member Jim Wood State Capitol P.O. Box 942849 Sacramento, CA 94249-0002 https://a02.asmdc.org/

Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife Legislative Office Building 1020 N Street, Room 160, Sacramento, CA 95814 (916) 319-2096

Senator Mike McGuire State Capitol 1303 10th Street, Room 5061 Sacramento, CA 95814   senator.mcguire@senate.ca.gov

Dear Members of the State Assembly Committee on Natural Resources:

We ask you to oppose AB 2889 for numerous reasons.

The Timber Harvest Review process (a Certified Regulatory Program and mandated by the Forest Practice Act and Rules) is a tedious and complicated process.  CalFire makes every effort to comply with their responsibility under the Forest Practice Act and Forest Practice Rules to assure compliance with the Act and other State Code.  The requirements for filling a complete plan are well spelled out in the Act and the Rules.    Review of the Forest Practice Act and Forest Practice Rules would reveal the inappropriate intent of AB 2889.  Every section of AB 2889 is included in the Act and The Rules – except for Item No. (5).  Item No. (5) is inconsistent with the Act and the Rules and if approved would subvert the Act and The Rules where the Rules (and Certified Regulatory Program) require that the multi-agency Review Team (after acceptance for filing) complete a first stage paper review (First Review where questions and information is asked), an in- field review (Pre-harvest Inspection where in-field observations may lead to agency concerns in Reports to the File, questions and recommendations), and Second Review Meeting (where the issues are discussed and CalFire applies mitigations to the plan and if the plan is substantially changed  – the plan is re-circulated).

This is all part of a mandated process (including late information which may be added to the plan file by federal responsible agencies). The language in section number (5) of AB 2889 subverts this process – which is mandated by the Act and the Rules and CEQA.

Additionally, there are other activities, including inspections (for Water Code or Basin Plan compliance, of Fish and Game Code compliance, or ESA compliance, and/or project review for consistency with documents filed with CalFire.  These additional requirements may require the submission of additional information (which AB 2889 would interrupt).   AB 2889 (Timber Harvesters Bill of Rights) is not only unnecessary, it is a distraction and direct threat to the appropriate management and administration of the intent of the Forest Practice Act, Forest Practice Rules under CEQA, and the application of Cal Water Code, and California Fish and Game Code by CalFire and Review Team Agencies (CalFire, Regional and State Water Board, and Department of Fish and Wildlife).  Finally, the language of the AB2889 is not consistent with language in the Forest Practice Rules necessary to carry out the intent of the Act which includes recovery of timberland productivity, forest and water quality resources. Review of the Rule language indicates that the AB 2889 language that limits requests for additional information is in conflict with the Forest Practice Rules (and other California Code) where the rules recognize circumstances that require the need to review additional information to protect the resource and make determinations of compliance with California Code.

We urge you to oppose AB 2889.

Sincerely,

 

Additional background information:

 

SECTION 1.

  Section 4592.5 is added to the Public Resources Code, to read:

4592.5.

 (a) This section shall be known as the Timber Harvester’s Bill of Rights.

(b) The department shall implement a Timber Harvester’s Bill of Rights to ensure the uniform and efficient implementation of processes and procedures regulating the filing, review, approval, required modification, completion, and appeal of decisions relating to timber harvesting plans. The bill of rights shall comply with all of the following requirements:

(1) A person submitting a timber harvesting plan to the department shall have the right to assistance provided by the department and the board regarding the regulatory and permitting requirements applicable to timber harvest plans. The board shall make an ombudsperson available to work with and assist persons intending to file a plan at each location where the department accepts those plans for filing, review, and approval.  Why do trained foresters need an ombudsperson to help them navigate what they should already know.  Cafire responds to RPFs who submit incomplete and inaccurate   plans with a list of what needs to be fixed.  They do not tell them how to fix it – as these are issues (subordinate to the Forest Practice Rules, Water Code, and Fish and Game Code) that the RPF must assess and address in the plan  (as per the requirements of the Forest Practice Rules.   It is not  Calfire’s job (or the State’s job) to write plans for an RPF or a landowner. Their certainly are budget impacts

(2) A person submitting a timber harvesting plan shall have the right to access all clearly written guidance documents prepared by the department that explain the regulatory process. In this connection, the department shall publish a list of all information required in a plan, using the rules of the board and an explanation of the criteria used to determine whether the information contained in a plan is adequate.  This is currently in place.  All information required in a plan is so stated in the Forest Practice Rules – and – RPFs are supposed experts and knowing the rules. The State should not be writing plans for the RPF.

(3) A person submitting a timber harvesting plan shall have the right to a timely determination under Section 4582.7 and any relevant administrative regulations. The department shall promptly notify a person submitting such a plan regarding whether it is accurate, complete, and in proper order.  This is in place – however negotiations and help for the RPF may take  some time to resolve   issues due to the nature of passing information back and forth  between agencies and allowing time for response.  Not allowing such time for communication and responses – puts more pressure on all parties and may force Calfire to reject incompetent plans outright.

(4) The department shall provide information to explain the meaning of the terms “accurate,” “complete,” and “in proper order” when used in connection with any determination regarding the completeness or sufficiency of a timber harvesting plan.  Do those words not have accepted meanings.  Maybe the Board of Foresty should clarify definitions in the Forest Practice Rules.  However, the rules are clear on the need for completeness and accuracy of plan submission.  Calfire only returns, or holds up plans, for clarification of issues  of missing and inaccurate information

(5) A person submitting a timber harvesting plan shall have the right to know the basis for any determination that a plan is deficient and to understand what further information is needed to make a plan complete. After a plan is accepted as complete, the department and any other public agency that participates in the review of a plan shall not request any new or additional information that was not specified prior to the filing of an accepted plan. Not allowing Review Team agencies is a huge problem and subverts the intent of the Forest Practice Act, Cal Water Code, and Cal Fish and Game Code  to address resource issues (forest productivity,  water quality, species protection, etc) w information is the basis of the ACT. Limiting this is contra to the intent of the FPA and managing the State’s Forests and Water Quality Values.Also – the Review Team may need new and or additional information in the performance of their responsibility or in compliance with other State Code

(6) A person submitting a timber harvesting plan shall have the right to a timely decision on the approval of the plan, and the department shall comply with any time periods set forth for the review and approval of any plan as prescribed in statute or any relevant administrative regulations.  The department can just reject plans that are not in conformance. Is that what they want?

(7) If a timber harvesting plan is returned to a person without a determination that it is accurate, complete, and in proper order, the director shall provide the ombudsperson and the person submitting the plan with information about what is needed to make the plan complete, and the ombudsperson shall assist the person in completing the plan.  Back to ombudsperson – RPFs are supposed to be trained in how to assess THP conformance to the rules.

(8) The department shall provide a person submitting a timber harvesting plan with information on the designated lead agency that the person shall work with to comply with any plan requirements prescribed in this division or any relevant administrative regulations.  this is confusing as to the intent or to actual desired outcome. Calfire is the lead agency – then their is the Review Team which includes Calfire and participating agencies (RB, CDFW, Coastal Commission – if in The Coastal Zone, Geologic Survey).

(9) A person submitting a timber harvesting plan shall have the right to know who will be reviewing the plan and to be provided with information on the estimated time for completion of the full plan review process.  Calfire provides this information – and it is noted on the PHI – all external agency/Review Team  participants – when an RPF calls or writes Calfire on issues – the responsible parties at Calfire are evident and noted.

(c) For purposes of this section, “plan” or “timber harvesting plan” includes all forms or documents required to be submitted to the department for review, including, but not limited to, timber harvesting plan documents, modified timber harvesting plans, nonindustrial timber harvesting plans, timber harvesting plan exemptions for the harvesting or removal of Christmas trees, dead, dying, or diseased trees, fuelwood, or split products, fire hazard trees within 150 feet of a residence, or substantially damaged timberland, any public agency exemptions, private and public utility exemptions, timberland conversion permits, and notices of emergency timber operations.

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