CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION NOW! Please contact your California State Senators, Assemblymembers and Governor and urge them to vote NO on AB 1492. This embarrassing piece of legislation is poised to fly through the California legislature this week without any substantive debate whatsoever. It is clearly a cynical attempt by wealthy timber barons at Sierra Pacific Industries and Green Diamond Resource Company to hoodwink the public into paying for damaging logging plans and to tie the hands of prosecutors that attempt to bring claims against the timber giants for causing forest fires that threaten communities and California’s public forests. Read what long-time forest activist Richard Gienger has to say about AB 1492.
EPIC has been tracking this atrocious proposal since its beginning at the Governor’s office, where we sent a formal letter of opposition. Again, more recently, we expressed our opposition to the proposal with a letter to the leaders of the State Senate and Assembly.
Logging on private lands in California is significantly subsidized by taxpayers, because timber companies pay very little for public agency review and approval. The value of these services is estimated at over $20 million dollars per year.
Now, the Legislature and Governor want to impose this expense on the consumer, by charging a tax on all wood products sold in the state. The timber industry will continue to receive free services from state agencies, while the homeowner and builder will subsidize the profits of logging companies. To sweeten the pot, the bill also reduces fire liability to eliminate ecological concerns in determining the damage, a provision initiated by timber giant Sierra Pacific Industries. Sierra Pacific recently settled a high profile federal prosecution for negligently causing the Moonlight Fire. While SPI ultimately settled its obligations, it has secured favor with the Governor to insulate it and other large timber companies from similar liability in the future.
This timber industry give away is anti-democratic, restricts the public’s rights, and saddles Californian’s with an unnecessary tax.