Forest Products Association says ‘unnecessary’ to restrict third of Vermont’s lands

Last Thursday, lawmakers in the House Committee on Environment and Energy heard testimony on a bill that would restrict about a third of the state’s lands from development.

H.126 is “an act relating to community resilience and biodiversity protection.” The bill’s text says “Thirty percent of Vermont’s total land area and waters shall be conserved by 2030, and 50 percent of the State’s total land area and waters shall be conserved by 2050.”

‘Unnecessary’ legislation

Ed Larson, a lobbyist working for the Vermont Forest Products Association, spoke at length about how the bill is “unnecessary” and could cause unintended consequences.

FORESTRY: State lawmakers are mulling over legislation that would restrict development on at least a third of Vermont’s lands.

“This legislation is unnecessary. It sets random artificial goals for conservation,” he said. “If you look at the already existing conservation accomplishments, we’re good for another eight years.”

Larson noted that industry plays a critical role in forest management which ultimately benefits the health of the land.

“Forest management protects and enhances tree health, forest health, biological diversity, you protect water quality and we prove it every year — wildlife habitat, carbon storage and sequestration, and resiliency to climate change,” Larson said.

Good for the climate?

For those concerned about climate, he said that allowing the industry to play its role in forest management reduces carbon emissions as well.

“More carbon is stored and sequestered in sustainably managed forests than in any old-growth forest unmanaged for timber over time,” Larson said.

He noted that in areas of the state where there is currently less development, forests are coming back.

“Outside of Chittenden County, we don’t see fragmentations, we don’t see the loss of forests, we actually see new forest coming,” he said. “… The University of Vermont confirms that the state has already protected 33% or 1.3 million acres of the highest priority lands needed to protect wildlife habitat,” he said.

Industry facing logistical challenges

Larson noted that some wood products are currently difficult to sell, mostly for logistical reasons. He said there’s no market for pulp-grade softwood, other than “two biomass plants we can go to and two pellet mills that are kind of far away.”

“And there’s no paper anymore, though we can go to Ticonderoga, and we do go all the way to Rumford [in Maine],” he said.

Remember The Council of Regional Commissions?

He also said past attempts at increasing land use restrictions did not produce the desired results.

“Some of you might remember in the 1990s we had a thing called the Council of Regional Commissions, a court, Governor Howard Dean abolished it and Vermonters cheered,” Larson said. “They don’t like statewide top-down planning. … I have ten years representing Montpelier on the Regional Planning Commission so I’m well aware of the mindset of this community.”

Climate alarmism rhetoric in the bill

The language in H.126 includes alarmist rhetoric that all humans and species face imminent perils if extreme measures aren’t taken.

“The health of ecosystems on which humans and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever, affecting the very foundations of economies, livelihoods, food security, health, and quality of life worldwide,” it states.

The bill adds: “The 2021 Vermont Climate Assessment highlights an increase in extreme weather events such as droughts and floods as a significant impact of climate change in Vermont and recommends nature-based solutions as a proven, low-cost strategy for climate adaptation and resilience.”

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

5 thoughts on “Forest Products Association says ‘unnecessary’ to restrict third of Vermont’s lands

  1. The attempt to restrict use of forest land is yet another example of ideology trumping reason by trying to use an inappropriate Vermont solution for a global problem. Yes, there are places where rapacious logging practices take place that cause significant long term enviornmental damage as in the rainforest, but that is not the case in Vermont.

    Vermont and our Northern Forests are ideally suited to sustained managed harvesting of this important resource. It is also where there is the among more oversight, regulation, and training of those in the forest product industry than anywhere in our nation. Vermonters like George Perkins Marsh, Frederick Billings and Justin Morrill led the way to adapting sustainable practices that both use and preserve our enviornment. We need to continue to follow their example.

  2. It’s very necessary if you want to control everybody’s land.

    The VTGOP should be all over what is going on in Ohio, the toxic plume has come into Vermont. This is a nuclear chemical disaster.

    You will notice who is very, very quiet. That is because they are not for a clean safe environment, they are not conservationists, like conservatives.

    They are conservationists, like communists, which means conserving power and money in their hands.

    Vermonters demand organic food, they should be afforded no less for their children and person. These are wonderful environmental platforms that cross party lines, that expose the true hearts of the uniparty in power.

    The are entirely predictable. They can’t veer from the playbook. They are all about power and money.

    • On that theme, the citizens of Vermont should have at least the same rights as a misty knoll chicken,

      They should be allowed for them selves and children to be organic, free from all chemicals……

      Let them argue against that…..which is how you frame the. Argument to accurately portray reality and not fall for thei stupid little medical tyranny. We better hurry up, because they are working on a global medical board…..all,hail the Gods of the United nations!

      • The Feds hate the Amish people and they harass them with fbi and fed food agencies endlessly. It’s mainly because their independent and conservative with religious lifestyles, and vote conservative. Potato head biden and buttboy pot hole pete haven’t lifted a finger to help in to what might be the biggest toxic disaster which only amplifies their reason to close the pipelines. They both proclaimed rail to be the safest way to transport crude. This is a epic failure of the fed control of transportation and sadly only getting blips in the media 2 weeks after it happened.

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