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NEWS RELEASE · 29th March 2010
Ministry of Forest and Range
Amendments to forestry legislation introduced today encourage better use of low- quality timber for bioenergy purposes and improve wildfire protection.

Changes to the scaling provisions of the Forest Act encourage utilization of low-grade timber and wood waste for bioenergy purposes. Previously only timber could be scaled, but under the changes, bioenergy products such as wood chips also can be scaled by either volume or weight. The amendment also allows for scaling to take place at harvesting or production sites in addition to scaling stations. Providing flexibility in scaling requirements allows harvested fibre to travel more directly from the harvest site to the market place.

Other amendments to the Forest Act:
* Extend the timelines for innovative forestry practices agreements, allowing government and licensees to further explore these agreements' potential for increasing timber supply.

* Clarify rules for redetermining stumpage rates, ensuring these rules operate as intended.

* Clarify the mechanism to be used for partitioning allowable annual cuts.

Amendments to the Wildfire Act improve wildfire protection by:

* Extending the period for prosecution for human-caused fires from two to three years to allow for complex investigations to be thorough and complete.

* Clarifying that both people who start or risk starting wildfires can be prosecuted.

* Improving the process by which forest companies can recover costs when they support provincial wildfire suppression efforts.

Consequential amendments are also made to the Forest and Range Practices Act and Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Emissions Standards) Statutes Amendment Act, 2008.

A copy of the bill can be found at
www.leg.bc.ca/39th2nd/1st_read/index.htm