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 ZinkeGuilfoyle named as national chair of Greitens' Senate campaign in Missouri Greitens Senate bid creates headache for GOP Missouri Senate candidate Eric Greitens tangles with Hugh Hewitt in testy interview MORE and Agriculture Secretary Sonny PerdueSonny PerdueThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Georgia election day is finally here; Trump hopes Pence 'comes through for us' to overturn results Civil war between MAGA, GOP establishment could hand Dems total control Trump administration races to finish environmental rules, actions 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 TrumpUS gives examples of possible sanctions relief to Iran GOP lawmaker demands review over FBI saying baseball shooting was 'suicide by cop' House passes bill aimed at stopping future Trump travel ban 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.