By George Gentry, Vice President, Regulatory Affairs
California’s forest sector is the most heavily regulated of its peers in the entire nation. As many industry members will remember all too well, the onset of these regulations quickly evolved into the “timber wars,” – of the 1980’s and 1990’s – which enveloped the forest sector and changed it dramatically.
The end result is that today our industry must navigate a highly complex regulatory structure that regularly alters, even in nuanced ways, the manner in which we do business. As such, Calforests staff must be ever vigilant of any such changes, because even the slightest regulatory modification could significantly impact our members.
One of the ways I do this is through what can easily be described as regulatory engagement. What does that mean exactly? Well, in short it means maintaining an open line of communication with the primary regulatory body that oversees the state’s forest sector: the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection.
The best way to stay engaged – no surprise here – is simply by showing up to the board’s many regulatory and policy functions, one of which took place this week.
Earlier this week, I attended a workshop to discuss potential revisions to 14 CCR § 1052.4 – the Emergency Notice for Fuel Hazard Reduction (establishment of fuel breaks); my comments and notes from the workshop are available here. This workshop focused on developing potential revisions to existing regulatory text, as well as soliciting input from the public and stakeholders on the matter. After sitting through a roughly four-hour meeting, I came away encouraged by the progress being made in developing this important regulation.
The board meets next week in Chico from May 7-9, during which this issue will be further discussed. Meeting participants will also be led on a field trip of the Camp Fire in Paradise, which will include the evaluation of fuel breaks like the ones in the proposed revisions. Watch this space – and the next few Calforests reports – for updates on this process.
Finally, if you would like a more comprehensive look at the work of the board, please take some time to review its Current Board Binder Materials, where you can also find archived documents as well.
For questions or comments, feel free to send me an email.