HB 437 (BR 1066) - H. Deskins Jr, J. Barrows, M. Brown, J. Gooch
AN ACT relating to the Kentucky Forest Conservation Act.
Create various sections of KRS Chapter 149 relating to forestry to define best management practices, logger, operator, water pollution, timber harvesting operations, and other necessary terms; enumerate the findings of the General Assembly regarding forestry and timber harvesting; provide the cabinet authority to promote the sustainability of Kentucky's forest ecosystems, to protect the health and condition of Kentucky's forest resources, to promote the most efficient utilization of forest resources, to provide educational opportunities to increase landowner, logger, and public awareness of Kentucky's forests, to enter upon private property for the purpose of enforcing the requirements of the Act, and to promulgate administrative regulations to accomplish its purposes; establish within the Division of Forestry an information and education program to develop public awareness of the importance of Kentucky's forests, to promote forest stewardship, to coordinate with other agencies, to implement an educational program that emphasizes sustainable forests and the full range of economic, ecological, and social opportunities provided by privately owned forests by sponsoring field days, demonstration programs, and supporting the Cooperative Extension Service; require the division to maintain an inventory of Kentucky's forests; require the division to assist with implementation of the Southern Annual Forest Inventory by supplying five two-person crews to perform annual data collection, to implement annual surveys to determine levels of harvesting and timber and log prices, and to use Geographic Information System technology; establish a Forest Stewardship Incentives Fund with moneys to be used for cost-share programs to provide financial assistance to landowners for development of stewardship plans and for stewardship practices; after two years from the effective date of this Act, prohibit any person from conducting timber operations within the Commonwealth unless there is on the site during the timber harvesting operations at least one logger in charge of the harvest who has successfully completed the Master logger Program established by the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet; require continuing education every three years after successful completion of the Master Logger Program; require the division to maintain a list of all loggers who have successfully completed the Master Logger Program and the continuing education requirements; two years from the effective date of the Act, require any logger or operator engaged in the conduct of any timber harvesting operations to use appropriate best management practices; prohibit any logger or operator from conducting any timber harvesting operations in a manner which will cause water pollution; if the cabinet determines that a logger or operator engaged in timber harvesting operations has failed to use the appropriate best management practices or is causing water pollution, require the cabinet to give the logger or operator written warning of the facts alleged and a reasonable period for abatement and compliance; if after the time for abatement, the cabinet determines that the logger or operator has failed to implement the appropriate best management practices or has failed to abate the water pollution, allow the logger or operator an opportunity for an informal conference with the district forester; after the opportunity for an informal conference, if the cabinet determines that the logger or operator has failed to implement the appropriate best management practices or has failed to abate the water pollution, require the cabinet to issue a notice of violation and order the logger or operator to implement corrective action measures within a specified period of time; if after the issuance of a notice of violation, the logger or operator fails to implement the best management practice or corrective measures, require the cabinet to issue a special order, ordering the logger or operator to immediately implement the practices or measures; allow the cabinet to also order the logger or operator to cease all or a portion of the timber harvesting operation constituting the violation; at the time the special order is issued, require the cabinet to notify the logger or operator of the opportunity for an administrative hearing; if the cabinet finds that any logger or operator is conducting any timber harvesting operations in violation of subsection (1) of Section 7 of the Act, requiring a master logger on site, or in a manner that is causing or is likely to cause water pollution that is presenting an imminent and substantial danger to the public health, safety, or welfare, or to the health of animals, fish, or aquatic life, or to a public water supply, or to recreational, commercial, industrial, or other uses, allow the cabinet to issue an emergency order directing the logger or operator to immediately cease the activity and implement corrective measures; at the time the order is issued require the cabinet to notify the logger or operator of the opportunity for administrative hearing; if the logger or operator fails to cease activity or comply with and implement the best management practices or corrective measures in a special order or fails to cease activity and implement corrective measures in an emergency order, require the logger or operator to be deemed a bad actor and be subject to civil penalties under the Act, after an opportunity for hearing; if the cabinet has evidence that a violation of subsection (1) of Section 7 has occurred, or has deemed a logger or operator a bad actor, require the cabinet to serve written notice of the determination and the provision alleged to have been violated and require the person complained against to answer the charges at an administrative hearing; allow any person who considers himself aggrieved by any determination of the cabinet to file a petition alleging that the determination is contrary to law or fact and is injurious to him and demanding an administrative hearing; require all hearings to be conducted under KRS 224.10-440; allow appeals to be taken from all final orders under KRS 224.10-470; allow any operator or logger who is deemed to be a bad actor or who violates subsection (1) of Section 7 to be, after hearing, assessed a civil penalty not to exceed $5,000 for each violation; allow each day to be deemed a separate violation for assessing penalties; allow sums recovered to be deposited in the Forest Stewardship Incentives Fund; cite as the "Kentucky Forest Conservation Act".
Jan 28-introduced in House
Jan 29-to Natural Resources and Environment (H)