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California Governor Signs Timber Tax Legislation



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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The bill had strong backing from the California timber industry for several reasons.

It eliminates regulatory fees companies currently pay when harvesting and shifts the costs to consumers through the tax.

It also limits legal damages landowners pay for starting wildfires.

Environmental groups liked some aspects of the legislation, but not all of it.

Gary Hughes with the Environmental Protection Information Center opposed the legislation. He says in part because it requires fewer environmental reviews of the timber industry's harvest plans.

Hughes: "Basically giving industry a much greater prerogative to escape any sort of review that would be incorporating the newest and most contemporary science."

Taxpayer groups and some wood dealers were also opposed to the legislation.

Mark Pawlicki is with Sierra Pacific Industries, which represents the largest private landowners in the state. He says he's pleased the legislation also prevents the federal government from obtaining large legal damages for wildfires.

Pawlicki: "It will say to our insurers that when we are trying to get insurance for our operations that they know a little better what it's going to cost if the fire jumps from private land to federal land and so that will reduce our insurance costs and make it easier for us to get insurance"

Governor Brown says it evens the playing field to protect California's timber industry jobs.

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