SACRAMENTO — Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today signed AB 1492, a sweeping bipartisan bill to strengthen California’s timber industry and protect thousands of jobs by eliminating regulatory fees on California companies, allowing extra time to harvest timber and preventing excessive civil liability for wildfires.
“California’s laws have saddled our timber industry with costly burdens while giving out-of-state competitors a free ride—but that stops today,” said Governor Brown. “This legislation enacts serious bipartisan reform to even the playing field to protect California’s timber-industry jobs.”
“This legislation helps our state’s timber industry tremendously by putting more people to work here in California and getting more Californians to buy California timber,” said Senator Tom Harman. “Today, seventy percent of our lumber is imported from nearby states and beyond, causing jobs to be exported outside California. This bill brings major reform to California’s timber industry and much-needed relief to California businesses.”
Under current law, California companies pay multiple regulatory fees when harvesting timber, giving out-of-state companies a major, competitive advantage. As a result, 70 percent of California’s lumber is currently imported. This new law eliminates regulatory fees and imposes a one percent assessment on lumber sales to level the playing field with out-of-state timber companies. This is projected to save taxpayers tens of millions of dollars in general fund expenditures annually and provides full funding for the California Department of Fish and Game’s Timberland Conservation Program.
“Governor Brown took action to reduce regulatory burdens and protect thousands of California’s timber-industry jobs,” said President and Chairman Emeritus of Sierra Pacific Industries, A.A. Red Emmerson, “This bill makes our company more competitive with out-of-state businesses and strengthens our industry. Governor Brown’s leadership brings California the first major reform to the timber industry in decades, improving California’s business climate for years to come. Our industry is extremely appreciative that Governor Brown led the way through the difficult legislative process.”
The new law also gives companies extra time to harvest timber without having to duplicate extensive environmental compliance documents. Under current law, companies can spend several years preparing environmental analysis for a Timber Harvest Plan, drafting a report and getting regulatory review—all for a plan that is valid for only three years. By extending the effective harvest period to five years with a two-year extension, the state will reduce regulatory burdens while maintaining critical environmental protections.