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

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

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The idea is to let landowners help thin forests to decrease the spread of fires. Brown's proposal follows Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeSenate panel approves Interior nominee over objections from Democrats Interior's border surge puts more officers in unfamiliar role Not 'if' but 'when' is the next Deepwater Horizon spill? MORE and Agriculture Secretary Sonny PerdueGeorge (Sonny) Ervin PerdueOn The Money: Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump | Trump to offer B aid package for farmers | House votes to boost retirement savings | Study says new tariffs to double costs for consumers Trump administration announces B aid package for farmers hurt by trade war with China USDA relocates expert economists, researchers who challenge Trump policies: report 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 TrumpPapadopoulos on AG's new powers: 'Trump is now on the offense' Pelosi uses Trump to her advantage Mike Pence delivers West Point commencement address 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.