On Wednesday, April 21, 2021, at 10:00 a.m., the Senate Environment and Energy Committee will host a remote hearing to take testimony from experts and interested parties on the topics of forest stewardship and prescribed burning, and the roles humans should play in managing the State’s forests.
While no legislative action will be taken at the hearing, the committee will discuss these five bills:
- S-2001, Establishes a forest stewardship program for State-owned lands. The League opposes S-2001 because the potential consequences outweigh the benefits. All State-owned land is within the border of a municipality. Commercial logging on these lands will inevitably impact roads, streams, and drainage systems on both State and municipal lands.
- S-3547, Establishes a working group to evaluate coordination and cooperation between various government entities and private landowners with respect to forest stewardship in pinelands area.
- S-3548, Sets minimum acreage goal and schedule for prescribed burns in pinelands area and statewide. The League opposes S-3548 because it sets an arbitrary goal for prescribed burns that is not based on leading science and fails to address other environmental concerns.
- S-3549, Requires a forest stewardship plan for certain lands acquired for recreation and conservation purposes. The League opposes S-3549 because it imposes unnecessary burdens on municipalities and creates an unfunded mandate.
- S-3550, Provides that municipal approval is not required for forest stewardship plans. The League opposes S-3550 because it violates the core principles of home rule by severely limiting municipal oversight of forested land, and eliminating important input from local communities surrounding the use and management of these lands.
League President and Clinton Town Mayor Janice Kovach will join League staff testifing at this hearing and we urge all interested to sign up to testify, or submit written testimony, in order to have your voice heard. Those wishing to testify must sign up to do so using the Legislature’s website before 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 20. Written testimony should be submitted prior to hearing and be emailed to OLSAideSEN@njleg.org.
Contact: Frank Marshall, Esq., Associate General Counsel, email@example.com, 609-695-3481, x137.