Talking points: Please support H.4784 that is now in House Ways and Means. We know that intact forests are the best way to
sequester and store carbon. And intact forests are best at protecting and promoting native biodiversity at historic and sustainable levels. This bill will ensure that the Massachusetts Department of
Conservation and Recreation (DCR) reviews their policies on land under their care every five years.
There would be a moratorium on logging plans until a review of current policies is conducted, until June 30,
SECTION 1. Section 51 of Chapter 132, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out subsection 2 and
inserting in place thereof the following section-:
(2) promoting the development and increased use and affordability of renewable energy resources demonstrating the role of renewable
energy sources and carbon sequestration in addressing the current concerns of air quality, greenhouse emissions, and forest management practices, establishing applied research and development
activities that examine and promote best available control technology serving as a depository of information regarding renewable energy resources, providing consulting and technology transfer
assistance to the public sector in an effort to help public institutions replicate best available practices in incorporating renewable energy strategies into existing and future construction and
providing a forum for public education and training regarding renewable energy and related application;
SECTION 2. (a) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the department of conservation and recreation shall
conduct a formal review of its coordinated management guidelines for sustainable forestry practices created pursuant to section 2F of chapter 21 of the general laws, as appearing in the 2020 Official
Edition, and the operations of the division of forest and parks, as described in chapter 132 of the general laws, as so appearing.
(b) Said review shall occur every five years and i) assess the efficacy of the department’s existing forest management practices to
protect and preserve the commonwealth’s natural resources; (ii) review the department’s landscape designation process and make recommendations for operational improvements, increased transparency,
and improved opportunities for public participation ; (iii) make recommendations for any statutory changes needed to improve the department’s management of public and private forest land; (iv) assess
opportunities to increase acreage of forest reserves, with particular consideration for old growth forests; (v) assess the feasibility, advantages and disadvantages of making permanent designations
for existing nature preserves, with particular consideration for old growth forests; (vi) make recommendations for transparency and accountability improvements for the division, including, but not
limited to, proposed statutory changes to codify advisory committees and administrative bodies overseeing forest management; (vii) identify opportunities for nature-based solutions to maximize the
utilization of forest land to meet the commonwealth’s emissions reduction goals; (viii) assess the department’s preparedness to manage and mitigate climate change impacts on public and private forest
land; and (ix) assess the commonwealth’s capacity for carbon sequestration on public forest land as a method to mitigate climate change.
(c) The forests and parks of the commonwealth now under the care, custody and control of the commissioner and subject to the formal
review shall not be leased, sold, or exchanged, or be taken by any corporation, public or private, nor shall the timber thereon be sold, removed or destroyed, except as a response to a known forest
management emergency, and no commercial activities except those essential to the quiet enjoyment of the facilities by the people shall be permitted on such lands until the department has
submitted its findings to the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate, the joint committee on ways and means and the joint committee on environment, natural resources and agriculture,
pursuant to Section 3 of this act.
SECTION 3. The department shall solicit public input on its forest management practices as part of the review process. Not later
than March 1, 2023, the department shall (i) hold no fewer than 4 public hearings in geographically-diverse regions to receive public testimony on forest management in the commonwealth and shall
provide for remote participation; and (ii) solicit and accept written and electronic testimony submissions from the public. Not later than May 1, 2023, the department shall release a draft report of
its findings and solicit public comment for at least 30 days.
SECTION 4. The department shall submit its findings, along with any updated guidelines, draft regulations, recommendations for
statutory changes, and written comments and summaries of oral testimony submitted during public comment periods to the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate, the joint committee on
ways and means and the joint committee on environment, natural resources and agriculture not later than June 30, 2023.