Farm Bureau forms technical committee for RMAP

7/1/02 - Washington Farm Bureau will form a technical committee to work with Government Relations staff members as the organization looks ahead to possible legislation needed to correct problems with the state's Road Maintenance and Abandonment Plan (RMAP) regulations for small forestland owners.

"With more timberland owners joining Farm Bureau to help in this cause, we have a wealth of grassroots expertise to call on," said Washington Farm Bureau President Steve Appel. "This is the strength of Farm Bureau - the knowledge and experience our members bring to policy development and providing direction for our professional staff members."

Joel Kretz, president of the Okanogan County Farm Bureau, which surfaced the RMAP issue, will chair the advisory committee. Appel will appoint other committee members this month.

Appel announced the formation of an advisory committee last month at a special meeting of the state Forest Practices Board, which was called to hear testimony on the RMAP rules.

Appel told the board that a series of seven Farm Bureau-sponsored meetings around the state exposed numerous problems with the rules, in addition to the estimated $375 million cost for private property owners.

Although the state Department of Natural Resources is recommending administrative or regulatory changes to address some of the problems, "we believe that many of the basic, underlying problems with RMAP may need to be addressed by the Legislature in order to provide some certainty to small timberland owners, to ensure the viability of family forestry, and to protect property rights," Appel said.

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