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Published on September 17, 2004
2004- The Press Democrat
BYLINE:    Kerry Benefield

COLUMN: Around the empire

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill Thursday that supporters hoped would end years of legal wrangling between environmental and logging interests over the management of Jackson State Demonstration Forest east of Fort Bragg.

The bill, SB1648, authored by Sen. Wes Chesbro, D-Arcata, would have created a citizens advisory committee with input on timber harvest plans, in exchange for the resumption of limited logging.

The creation of the committee was opposed by timber industry officials and cited by Schwarzenegger as a reason for vetoing the bill.

Schwarzenegger said the committee would not have had the professional expertise to merit its authority.

Supported by the Sierra Club of California and other environmental groups, the law would have paved the way for the state to harvest 20,000 to 25,000 trees a year at Jackson forest, bringing in $3 million to $5 million for the state.

But the state Department of Forestry and timber industry officials opposed the bill, arguing that it would have given the advisory committee too much power.