Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title

Journal of Land, Resources, and Environmental Law

Publication Date

1-1-1997

Volume

17

Issue

1

First Page

11

Last Page

44

Abstract

Utah legislators currently are wrestling with how to address problems regarding forest practices on nonfederal lands within the state. They have before them the findings and recommendations of the Utah Forest Practices Task Force which studied the issue in 1996. The Task Force report contains an integrated set of recommendations which include the suggestion that the state legislature pass a forest practices act. Proposing legislation to enable the state to exercise administrative oversight of forest practices on nonfederal lands is controversial in Utah because of the state's generally conservative composition, support for private property rights, and aversion to government regulation. Yet, a bill containing a forest practices act will likely be introduced in the 1997 session. This article explores the practical realities that are leading some Utah legislators to consider taking the political risks involved in supporting such legislation. The findings, recommendations, and rationale of the Utah Forest Practices Task Force are presented here in an effort to explain what the Task Force feels is necessary to address the current situation. This approach is then analyzed within the current political context.

Comments

An invited and reviewed law journal article published at the time Utah legislators were wrestling with how to address problems regarding forest practices on nonfederal lands within the state. The authors provide an assessment of the issue, outline Utah’s vulnerability to timber harvesting pressures, describe the consequences and risks associated with the situation, and analyze the primary stakeholder groups. They also summarize the deliberations, findings and recommendations of the Utah Forest Practices Task Force (Chaired by Dr. Joanna Endter-Wada) which was appointed to investigate the issue in 1996. The Utah Legislature subsequently funded a Utah State University Forestry Extension Program and passed a Utah Forest Practices Act (found in Utah Code, Title 65A, Chapter 8a and implemented through Utah Administrative Code, Rule R652-140).

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