STATEMENT AND CALL TO ACTION RE: H.4415

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In February 2020 H.897, a Bill Relative to Forest Protection and H.853, An Act to Assure the Attainment of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Goals of the Alternative Portfolio Standard, were combined with 2 other forest related bills into H.4415, An Act to Study Forest Management Practices. Read the bill.

H.4415 was reported favorably out of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. The bill is now in the Rules Committee of each chamber.

 

H.4415 will need to be shepherded through the Legislature by July 2020 and committee appointments will need to be made by the Governor, an often much delayed process, when we can afford no more delays. In addition, there are concerns regarding a potential lack of balanced perspective in the makeup of the committee.

Given the Covid-19 Pandemic, it seems unlikely that this legislation will pass by the July deadline, or that the committee will be appointed and able to meet its obligations within the parameters set by the bill.

The WENDELL STATE FOREST ALLIANCE regrets that the severity of the ongoing Climate Emergency has not impacted our Legislators enough to have moved H.897 and H.853 forward with the critical urgency our situation requires. The appointment of a “special legislative committee” to study management practices within the Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife is far too little, far too late and is like rearranging the chairs on the Titanic. Read more.

PETITION TO PROTECT MA FORESTS - Logging Moratorium

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The petition calls for an immediate moratorium on logging on all Massachusetts state-owned lands, including woodlands, parklands, reserves, and watersheds managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, and wildlife management areas managed by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, excluding the cutting of trees proven to be necessary to protect public safety.

Our Massachusetts forests are critical in mitigating climate change, preserving native wildlife and habitats, safeguarding soils, providing clean air and water, and offering public recreation. Logging our forests harms these values, while protecting our forests from cutting enhances them. Keeping our forests standing would allow them to absorb and store carbon at an increasing rate for centuries to come. This would complement the state’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Now is the time to revisit our public forest policies to ensure the greatest possible benefit for this and future generations.

Logging devastated areas of Wendell State Forest in 2019, and rendered some recreational trails completely unusable.

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