Here’s the latest on House Bill 104, the Expedited Timber Sales Bill currently in the House Resources Committee in the Alaska State Legislature.
Tomorrow at 1 p.m. AKT there will be an opportunity for public testimony on HB104. This bill is nothing but a timber grab, attempting to weaken public process around already rushed state timber sales even further. Therefore, please call 844-586-9085 at 12:50 p.m. AKT tomorrow, or email [email protected], to testify.
We should be opposing this bill for the following reasons:
- HB 104 proposes to offer state timber sales that speed up timber disposal processes on state lands, and give the DNR Commissioner ultimate discretion in deciding if an area is “threatened.”
- HB 104 would allow timber sales to be offered quickly in any area that has been affected — or may be affected — by fire, insect infestation, or disease.
- The bill defines “expedited timber sale” as meaning a sale that shortens the time frame for each step of the timber sale process and concentrates personnel actions to maximize the amount of qualifying burnt, infected, diseased, or threatened timber available for harvest. But it includes no definitions or scientific guidelines for what any of these terms mean, putting state forests at the whims of politically appointed commissioners.
- There are no specifics in the bill as far as what information will be used to decide if an area is “threatened” by fire, insects, or disease. Alaska already has a salvage sale law that provides for these types of timber sales in a two-year window. This bill seems to be a way that the Division of Forestry could bypass public process to dispose of State timber very quickly. From my/our/SEACC’s first reading, it seems as if timber sales under this bill would not include any opportunity for public comment, and there is no sale size limitation.