Home > Uncategorized > Do You Support Logging On State Forests and Preserved Lands? – Another Reason To Vote “NO” on Open Space Question #2

Do You Support Logging On State Forests and Preserved Lands? – Another Reason To Vote “NO” on Open Space Question #2

The Bergen Record editorialized to warn voters to “read the fine print”.

I’ve been urging that for months now.

So today we provide that fine print and explain another reason – buried in the fine print – to vote NO on the Open Space Ballot question.

For the last 2 legislative sessions, there has been a huge controversial battle over a bill that, among other things, would allow commercial logging on State lands and State forests, including applications of herbicides, and destruction of wetlands, stream buffers, habitat, and recreational uses with virtually no regulatory and little public oversight.

The bill would do that under the guise of one word: stewardship.

Stewardship is a wonderful concept, but it is an undefined and vague term, with no regulatory, programmatic, or legal meaning, so the devil is in the details.

There are strong differences in interpretation of what the word means – and what it should include but does not according to conservation groups who support the concept, as well as the Farm Bureau, DEP, and private professional foresters who will actually apply the term in the field.

Repeat: there are no laws, regulations, policies, or Guidance documents that describe exactly what “stewardship” is and how it is regulated to prevent harms to water resources; forest integrity; fish and wildlife; or competing public uses of State lands, like hiking, fishing and birding.

I’ve testified to the legislature and written about the forest stewardship controversy  numerous time here, and so has NJ Spotlight, see:

So, what is the relationship between a commercial logging “stewardship” bill and the Open Space ballot question?

The answer is simple: that same one vague word: stewardship.

So, read the fine print and decide whether you want open space preserved lands to be used for commercial logging.

Here is the fine print from SCR84[SCS]: note the word “stewardship” – that term has NEVER BEFORE BEEN IN THE OPEN SPACE PROGRAM:

The amount annually credited pursuant to this subparagraph shall be dedicated and shall be appropriated from time to time by the Legislature only for: providing funding, including loans or grants,  for the preservation, including acquisition, development, and stewardship, of lands for recreation and conservation purposes, including lands that protect water supplies and lands that have incurred flood or storm damage or are likely to do so, or that may buffer or protect other properties from flood or storm damage; providing funding, including loans or grants, for the preservation and stewardship of land for agricultural or horticultural use and production; providing funding, including loans or grants for historic preservation; paying administrative costs associated with each of those efforts; paying or financing the cost of water quality point and nonpoint source pollution monitoring, watershed based water resource planning and management, and nonpoint source pollution prevention projects; paying or financing costs incurred by the State for the remediation of discharges of hazardous substances, which costs may include performing necessary operation and maintenance activities relating to remedial actions and costs incurred for providing alternative sources of public or private water supplies, when a water supply has been, or is suspected of being, contaminated by a hazardous substance discharge; providing funding, including loans or grants, for the upgrade, replacement, or closure of underground storage tanks that store or were used to store hazardous substances, and for the costs of remediating any discharge therefrom; and providing funding, including loans and grants, for the costs of the remediation of discharges of hazardous substances, which costs may include costs incurred for providing alternative sources of public or private water supplies, when a water supply has been, or is suspected of being, contaminated by  hazardous substance discharge. 

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