Sec. A-1. 12 MRSA c. 805, sub-c. 3-A, §8866 is enacted to read:
The Legislature finds and declares that the State's forests are resources of great significance to the people of the State. These resources have great economic value, environmental value, scenic beauty and unique characteristics and unsurpassed recreational, cultural and historical values of present and future benefit to the citizens of the State. The well-being of communities of the State depends upon sustainable forest management. Liquidation harvesting is a serious and direct threat to forest management, forest industries and rural communities over the landscape of Maine. Liquidation harvesting produces significant adverse economic and environmental effects and threatens the health, safety and general welfare of the citizens of the State. Liquidation harvesting is incompatible with responsible forest stewardship and must be substantially eliminated.
Sec. A-2. 12 MRSA §8868, sub-§6 is enacted to read:
6. Liquidation harvesting. "Liquidation harvesting" means the purchase of timberland followed by a harvest that removes most or all commercial value in standing timber, without regard for long-term forest management principles, and the subsequent sale or attempted resale of the harvested land within 5 years.
Sec. A-3. 12 MRSA §8869, first ¶, as enacted by PL 1989, c. 555, §10, is amended to read:
To promote a healthy and sustainable forest that contains a balance of age classes necessary for a sustainable timber supply and spatial and compositional diversity, forest harvesting
shall be and liquidation harvesting are regulated pursuant to this subchapter.
Sec. A-4. 12 MRSA §8869, sub-§14 is enacted to read:
14. Substantial elimination of liquidation harvesting. The commissioner shall adopt rules to substantially eliminate liquidation harvesting. Rules adopted pursuant to this subsection are major substantive rules as defined in Title 5, chapter 375, subchapter 2-A.
Sec. A-5. Rulemaking regarding liquidation harvesting. No later than February 1, 2004, the Commissioner of Conservation shall provisionally adopt rules to substantially eliminate liquidation harvesting by requiring measures that include, without limitation, increased professional involvement in planning and implementation of timber harvesting activities on forest lands.
Rules adopted pursuant to this section must require that timber harvesting activities be conducted with attention to long-term forest management principles. The rules must include appropriate exemptions, including, but not limited to, exemptions for landowners and land managers with independent 3rd-party certification, harvests covering small acreages and permitted land conversions. The rules must apportion appropriate legal responsibilities to landowners, foresters and loggers for compliance with the rules.
The Commissioner of Conservation shall consult with the Commissioner of Environmental Protection and the Commissioner of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to ensure that Bureau of Forestry rules regarding forestry practices are consistent with environmental and wildlife habitat protection.
Rules adopted pursuant to this section are major substantive rules as defined in the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 5, chapter 375, subchapter 2-A and must be submitted to the Legislature no later than February 1, 2004 for review.
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