The Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee (ACF) voted unanimously in support of an amended Outcome Based Forestry Bill, LD 1847. Sen. Eloise Vitelli offered an amendment that was modified slightly and approved by the entire committee. The amended bill increases the MFS’ reporting to the ACF Committee by requiring an annual report and requiring the State of the Forest report (required every 5 years) to address the OBF program. The technical panel is charged with assessing whether the alternative practices are providing at least the equivalent forest and environmental protection as the existing clearcutting rules. The State of the Forest report must include a recommendation to continue, change or discontinue the program. The technical panel must have expertise in the program’s principles. The MFS must notify the ACF Committee within 15 days of entering into a new contract.
We were not successful in getting all of our issues folded into the amendment but are pleased with the significant progress the bill provides and its unanimous support. It will need to be voted on by the full Legislature in the coming weeks. Credit goes to all of the committee members for supporting the initiative. Extra credit goes to Rep. Jeff McCabe and Sen. Jim Boyle for sponsoring the bills and to Sen. Eloise Vitelli for crafting an amendment that received broad support. We understand Rep. Don Marean played a critical role in persuading his caucus. Several of the committee members, including Rep. Peter Kent, asked excellent questions. We appreciate all of the support and look forward to staying engaged on this important issue.