“A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.” - Henry David Thoreau
Protecting our forests in this time of climate crisis and biodiversity collapse is recognized as an important way to protect our environment and our future health and well-being. Two bills have been submitted to the Massachusetts Legislature this session. One would permanently protect 412,000 acres under the care and control of the Division of Conservation and Recreation. The other would permanently protect 30% of the land owned by Fish and Wildlife, about 51,000 acres, by 2030. These state agencies already have land in reserves where intact ecosystems are influenced primarily by natural processes. These bills request more reserves than we now have, and give them legal protection that they do not currently have. Together these actions would help Massachusetts to do its part to help mitigate climate change and protect our native natural heritage.
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Save Massachusetts Forests is a project of RESTORE: The North Woods.
1. H.4150 — An Act Relative to forest protection, sponsored by Representative Carmine Gentile
Hearing date is Wednesday November
29th - It will be posted here: https://malegislature.gov/Committees/Detail/J21
This bill is resubmitted from the last legislative session. It would update century-old public land policies written before we recognized the climate crisis and global loss of biodiversity. This bill would help address these concerns by designating 412,000 acres of forest and watershed lands controlled by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation as parks and reserves. We would permanently conserve intact ecosystems thatare influenced primarily by natural processes in our forests and parks — a level of protection that now exists for only 1% of the state’s land base.
Find the bill here: https://malegislature.gov/Bills/193/H4150
3. H894 - An Act relative to forest management and practices guidelines Sponsored by Representatives Lindsay Sabadosa and Aaron Saunders
This bill includes a call for the creation of an independent Advisory Council to oversee an evaluation of Massachusetts publicly owned forest lands with goals that include:
4. H895 - An Act to Require Separate Carbon Accounting for Working Lands and Natural Lands and to Eliminate from Massachusetts Net-Zero Carbon Emissions Goal any Carbon Offsets Sold to Entities Outside of the Commonwealth, sponsored by Representative Lindsay Sabadosa
This bill would modify the Global Warming Solutions Act (Chapter 21N) as amended by the climate roadmap bill signed into law by Gov. Baker (Chapter 8 of the Acts of 2021: An act creating a next-generation roadmap for Massachusetts climate policy) by clarifying some carbon accounting issues in the existing law.
One of the goals of the Roadmap bill is to measure and report on the degree to which natural and working lands help mitigate climate disruption by removing carbon from the air. Existing law as written could lead to misleading assessments of net carbon accumulation in managed forests, forests in reserves, farmlands, and other lands. HD.3907 would ensure that these lands are clearly and separately analyzed in order to provide a sound foundation in fact for developing policies and practices to enhance their contribution to meeting our net-zero carbon emissions goals. This bill would also ensure that land-based carbon accumulation in Massachusetts is not counted twice, here and somewhere else. This would prevent "double dipping" and provide an accurate picture of the extent to which Massachusetts lands balance Massachusetts carbon emissions.
Find the bill here: https://malegislature.gov/Bills/193/H895
More important bills
IT'S TIME TO STOP SUBSIDIES FOR BIOMASS IN MASSACHUSETTS
and protect our forests
See the ACTION - MA Biomass Subsidies page
In the news- Massachusetts state land logging moratorium petition delivered to Governor Charlie Baker
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Pre-eminent Biologist E.O. Wilson Supported Our Bills
to Protect State- Owned Land
"I strongly support this bill, which would permanently protect 13 percent of the Massachusetts land area, reaching from the Berkshires to the Atlantic Coast. This is the single most important action the people of thestate can take to preserve our natural heritage. As it has many times in the past, Massachusetts can provide leadership on this issue, inspiring other states across the country to take similar bold action."
With best wishes,
Edward O. Wilson
July 6, 2019
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