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“Smoke Management”?

Forest Burn Bill Will Not Make Breathing Easier

I was just looking through some old Works Progress Administration (WPA) posters and came across the above, which reminded me of the proposed forest burn bill (see other cool WPA posters here – my favorite is below).

We wrote about the burn issue weeks ago when “controlled burns” were being considered as part of the proposed forest “stewardship” bill .

We are disappointed to report that a stand alone forest burn bill (S368) was released last Thursday by the Senate Environment Committee (see S368 statement). We are not comforted by this:

Specifically, the bill would direct the NJFFS to develop and administer a program for the certification of prescribed burn managers. The program would include at least the following subjects: safety; legal aspects of prescribed burning; fire behavior; prescribed burning tactics; smoke management; environmental effects; and preparation of prescribed burn plans.

I missed that portion of the Senate hearing, because I was testifying in the Assembly against the DEP administrative bills (see: New Round of Red Tape Bills Moved in Trenton Today).

The burn bill was released and referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, so folks will get another shot at the apple to speak out.

There is no Assembly version introduced thus far, but last session, the Assembly bill sponsors were from Burlington County – so I assume the impetus is Pinelands forest management, which suggests that it might not be difficult to limit the scope of the burn program to the Pinelands and exempt north jersey hardwood forests.

Anyway, it’s probably not so good an idea to be burning NJ’s last remaining hardwood forested lands – see: Forest Bill Would Jeopardize Clean Air and Public Health

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