August 20, 2013
Re: Governor conditionally vetoes Logging Bill
The Governor conditionally vetoed S-1085/A-2837, which would have established a forest stewardship program for State-owned lands. The League opposed the bill based on concerns raised by our member municipalities regarding the potential damage resulting from commercial logging to roads, streams and drainage systems on both State and municipal lands. Additionally, these State lands have been set aside, using public dollars, for conservation and recreation purposes.
The conditional veto cites as the Governor’s sole concern the provision which would have transferred responsibility for the program over to a group independent of state government, the non-profit Forest Stewardship Council. The Governor removed that provision, returning oversight to the Department of Environmental Protection.
The bill now returns to the Legislature for consideration of the Governor’s conditional veto. Since that the third party oversight was considered a vital portion of the bill to its advocates, it is not certain if S-1085 will advance any further. While we appreciate the Governor’s conditional veto, it did not address the concerns raised by municipalities impacted by the bill. As such, we would recommend contacting your legislation and ask them to oppose the bill.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.