Author: Bert Stedman
I’m very pleased to report that SB 32 passed both bodies of the Legislature and will be sent to the Governor for his signature to become law.
This legislation implements recommendations from the Alaska Timber Jobs Task Force and the Board of Forestry. In a nutshell, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will now have more authority to offer negotiated timber sales. Negotiated sales, rather than competitively bid sales, will allow DNR to tailor timber sales in areas of the state that are actively managed for forestry and where there is high demand for timber products or biomass fuel. It is important to note that any negotiated timber sale is still subject to the constitutional sustained yield principle and also subject to a best interest finding by the Commissioner of DNR.
SB 32 was introduced by the Governor at the request of the DNR. While the bill was shepherded through the legislative process by DNR officials, my office closely monitored its progress and we met with legislators and their staffs to explain the benefits to the state and local economies.
We all know the federal government (U.S. Forest Service) has struggled to provide an adequate supply of timber for our local lumber mills. I’m grateful that the State of Alaska is stepping in to partially fill that void. I believe this new law will maintain and boost the local timber jobs in Southeast.
I am proud to have worked alongside Governor Walker and DNR to provide more opportunity for our timber industry.