U.S. National Ocean Policy could have far-reaching impacts on private forest management, says Forest Landowners Assn.; 81 interest groups speak out

ATLANTA, Georgia , April 12, 2012 (press release) – The Forest Landowners Association today joined eighty-one groups in submitting a letter to U.S. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers (KY), as well as the Chairperson of each House Appropriations Subcommittee, asking that language be included in all Fiscal Year 2013 appropriations bills that would prohibit the use of funds to implement the new National Ocean Policy. The request was made as part of an effort to achieve a pause in policy implementation that would provide more time for oversight and examination of potential impacts.

“The uncertainty of this Policy raises concerns as having the potential to place unnecessary restrictions and regulations on private forest landowners,” noted FLA CEO Scott Jones, who is in Washington, DC this week meeting with Congressional staff as Congress prepares to return to work from Easter Recess.

FLA’s concern arises from a section of the plan that addresses inland and rural sources of non-point source pollution, in which forested watersheds to reduce non-point sources of pollution are specifically singled out.

Specifically the plan states: Reducing the rural input of these materials means considering all components of the landscape, including soil, water, air, and plant and animal communities. Well-managed watersheds are fundamental to clean and abundant water resources. This action will enhance water quality in the ocean, along our coasts, and in the Great Lakes by promoting conservation and best management practices in rural and forested watersheds to reduce non-point sources of pollution.

While this initiative is primarily about ocean activities, as the process has moved forward it has come to light that activities that might adversely affect the health of the ocean or Great lakes ecosystems may also be affected – no matter how far inland they may occur. The risk of unintended economic and societal consequences is high, due to the unprecedented geographic scale under which the policy is to be established.

The letter's signatories, include the Forest Landowners Association, represent a wide array of commercial and recreational interests and reflect the breadth of concern that citizens and businesses across the United States continue to have about the National Ocean Policy as developed thus far. A PDF copy of the letter can be found at FLA's website, www.forestlandowners.com.

About the Forest Landowners Association: Since 1941, FLA has provided its members, who own and operate more than 40 million acres of forestland in 48 states, with education, information, and national grassroots advocacy, which enables them to sustain their forestlands across generations. FLA’s outreach on behalf of private forest landowners nationwide enhances their forestland management practices and stewardship, and provides peace of mind that they have an advocate working to bring them richly deserved compensation for their work that safeguards America’s forestlands.

FLA provides advice, support and information to policy makers, educating them on how proposed legislation could affect private forest management, stewardship and owners’ rights. We continually represent forest owners’ interests.
Contact: (404) 325-2954

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