California's Jerry Brown considers easing logging rules to help fight fires

California's Jerry Brown considers easing logging rules to help fight fires
© Getty

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) is proposing sweeping new legislation that would make it easier for private landowners to cut down trees on their land as the state deals with one of its worst wildfire seasons in years.

Brown's plan, which first was reported by the Mercury News Thursday, would allow landowners living on property of 300 acres or less to cut down trees with up to a 36-inch diameter without a permit. The current regulation ends at 26 inches in diameter. 

Additionally, owners would be able to build private roads up to 600 feet long without getting a permit first as long as they are maintained.


The idea is to let landowners help thin forests to decrease the spread of fires. Brown's proposal follows Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeZinke must change direction and support conservation Energy development will likely land one bird on the Endangered Species list Montana lawmakers cheer recommendation to ban mining north of Yellowstone MORE and Agriculture Secretary Sonny PerdueGeorge (Sonny) Ervin PerdueAdministration announces plan to streamline oil and gas extraction in national forests The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by Better Medicare Alliance — How will Obama impact the midterms? Here are the administration officials who have denied they wrote the anonymous NYT op-ed MORE's visit to the state last week, where both Cabinet members pushed increased forest management as a way to hinder future fires.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassley: Dems 'withheld information' on new Kavanaugh allegation Health advocates decry funding transfer over migrant children Groups plan mass walkout in support of Kavanaugh accuser MORE also preached the need for logging and forest management in a tweet, saying, "Must also tree clear to stop fire from spreading!"

A number of California politicians at the time of the secretaries' visit pushed back on the insinuation that fires could be thwarted through increased thinning, arguing that it was meant to benefit the logging industry and overlooked climate change's impact on the fires.

Brown's office at the time would not comment on the tweet.

Brown's new proposal has the support of the timber industry but not environmentalist groups, some of whom argue that logging will aid the spread of fires because it will cut down the mature trees that burn longer.