Some good news in California

Travel remains a large part of publishing both Loggers World and Log Trucker magazines, which is particularly true the first four months of each year to cover the state and regional logging conferences in addition to state logging association annual meetings.

This past month included a stop for the 64th Sierra-Cascade Logging Conference held in Anderson, California (10 miles south of Redding).

Any trip to California is a stark reminder of the state’s bipolar environment due to the schizoid nature of their state politics, and resulting policies, which may be fine south of Sacramento (where the haze in the air may remind one of cannabis) but are not entirely applicable for the area north to the Oregon border. Their geographic, demographic, cultural, attitude and economic differences are profound, yet because of the state’s being formed long before those shifts in population, an area that should be two states (with at least twice the number of U.S. Senators) remains as it was initially formed. Thus the populace southern California essentially dictates their “sense” of order, spending, rules, regulations, and government largesse for all of the state, with limited (at best) tolerance for the interests, or cost, to the North State who have little choice but to “tolerate” what passes for wisdom in Southern California.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) was formed by the legislature some years ago and given sweeping powers of regulation and enforcement to clean up California’s air statewide, however the “one-size-fits-all” approach for the entire state is not uniformly welcomed in the northern regions where air quality is very different.

CARB rules on diesel engines would have removed many pieces of older logging machinery from operation, however for more than six years, the “California Forestry Association(CFA) - Associated California Loggers (ACL) Diesel Working Group” has focused continually on these issues. This Working Group includes ACL member logging companies who have met with CARB officials and taken them on woods tours in 2012 and previous years.

The CFA-ACL Working Group efforts appear to have yielded results, as announced at the recently completed Sierra-Cascade Logging Conference on February 9th. Tim Hartigan from the Off-Road Ag/Forestry Diesel Rule staff, announced that the proposed Rule on agriculture and forestry (logging) equipment would apply only to the San Joaquin Valley Airshed(counties of San Joaquin,Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare, and the Valley portion of Kern County.) He also stated that there were no anticipated performance requirements likely for the forestry equipment within the San Joaquin Airshed but there would be made available incentives to upgrade the equipment. Workshops on the Rule will be announced any day and are likely to be in mid-March 2013. A draft Rule for a 45-day public comment period is likely in late September to the first of November. The final Rule is likely to be approved at the December 2013 Air Resources Board meeting.

Kudos to the ACL logging companies for their active involvement engaging the CARB staff members through tours of logging sites pointing out the differences in the populous south from the wide open northern logging country air quality. Also Kudos to Steve Brink, Vice President of the California Forestry Association, for his expertise and leadership of the CFA-ACL Working Group.