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.


The idea is to let landowners help thin forests to decrease the spread of fires. Brown's proposal follows Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeNew policy at Interior's in-house watchdog clamps down on interactions with press Overnight Energy: EPA proposes scrapping limits on coal plant waste | Appointee overseeing federal lands once advocated selling them | EPA lifts Obama-era block on controversial mine Latest appointee overseeing federal public lands once advocated to sell them MORE and Agriculture Secretary Sonny PerdueGeorge (Sonny) Ervin PerdueUSDA eases relocation timeline as researchers flee agency The Hill's Morning Report - How will Trump be received in Dayton and El Paso? USDA office move may have broken law, watchdog says 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 TrumpFacebook releases audit on conservative bias claims Harry Reid: 'Decriminalizing border crossings is not something that should be at the top of the list' Recessions happen when presidents overlook key problems 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.