Maintaining working forests is not an easy job, and what just about everyone can agree on is that keeping the forests rather than selling them off for development is a good thing. HB 2541, which is now making its way through the Washington Legislature in Olympia, would give forest landowners more flexibility in how they maintain their property.
As this Capital Press story describes:
..(L)andowners could voluntarily participate in incentive programs similar to those offered for agriculture. It would require the state Forest Practices Board, before adopting new rules, to propose incentives for landowners to take voluntary conservation measures.”
The board would also be directed, when faced with one or more alternative proposed rules with substantially equivalent environmental protection, to select the option that retains the greatest economic value to forestry.
Of course environmental regulation is always a balancing act, but at some point, excessive government regulation prevents the exact kind of conservation it is trying to encourage. Forest landowners get fed up with the bureaucratic delays and rule changes and they sell to a developer who has no commitment to working forests, only the bottom line.
Does government do a good job with the balancing act? What kinds of changes, if any, would you like to see in your city or state?