Senate schedules hearing on RMAP legislation


Olympia, WA - State Sen. Bob Morton, chairman of the Senate Natural Resources Committee, has scheduled a hearing on proposed legislation to change the state's Road Maintenance and Abandonment Plan regulations for Wednesday, Feb. 5. The hearing will be in the Cherberg Building, at the Capitol complex in Olympia, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

The hearing coincides with Washington Farm Bureau's annual Legislative Days, when more than a hundred Farm Bureau members will be in Olympia to get updates on agricultural issues and meet with their state legislators.

With the Legislature scheduled to get underway Jan. 13, there still have not been any RMAP bills introduced in either the House or Senate. But Hertha Lund, assistant director of government relations for the Washington Farm Bureau, said legislation being prepared at the request ofthe state Department of Natural Resources appears to fall short of meeting Farm Bureau's goals.

In September, the Washington Farm Bureau RMAP Advisory Committee issued the following recommendations:

1. That a "small forest landowner" be defined as someone who harvests less than two million board feet per year, based on a three-year average.

2. There should be no RMAP requirements for a small forest landowner.

3. Solutions to environmental concerns must be:

* Site specific, action specific and scientifically based
* Economically feasible for continued timber and agricultural production on land (cost-benefit analysis required)
* Structured with non-regulatory incentives
* Developed with greater small forest landowner participation throughout the process

"Farm Bureau has never backed off of its position that these rules had to be changed to eliminate the unfair and discriminatory financial and regulatory burdens placed upon private property owners by RMAP," Lund said. "We asked that there be no increase in burden upon small forest landowners, yet the current bill would still have a serious negative impact on those who can least afford the regulations."

Lund said Farm Bureau would continue to work with key legislators to amend any RMAP legislation to ensure that small forest landowners can continue to farm and live on their land.

For a draft copy of the legislation being prepared for the DNR, send e-mail request to Scott Dilley, policy assistant at the Washington Farm Bureau, at <>. To register for Legislative Days, contact Gary Joiner, director of member relations, at <> .


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