Legal Action to Preserve Mass Forests
An environmental attorney from western Massachusetts has filed a citizen’s referendum to ban commercial logging on Department of Conservation and Recreation Lands in Massachusetts. These lands make up about 8% of Massachusetts Land Area and include the Quabbin watershed, the source of Boston’s drinking water.
The language of the citizens referendum is as follows:
INITIATIVE PETITION TO ASSURE THE QUITE ENJOYMENT OF DCR FOREST LANDS FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE PUBLIC AND TO PROTECT BIODIVERSITY
Be it enacted by the People, and by their authority as follows:
SECTION 1. Section 2B of Chapter 132A of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following sentence, “Commercial harvesting of wood products shall be prohibited on all forested lands owned by the Department of Conservation and Recreation. Said lands shall be designated as forest reserves.”
The attorney general office has already approved the referendum and deemed that it is “constitutional” and the next step is to collect signatures, a lot of them, about 100,000 by November 16th. While that may sound daunting, if enough people get involved, it is quite doable.
The attorney has asked if Massachusetts Forest Watch would be willing to help out and endorse the effort. Our responsibility would be to provide materials and provide as many volunteers as possible willing to help collect signatures. We already have the materials, so I can handle that part without any difficulty, but collecting the signatures would require assistance from volunteers.
So, the purpose of this e-mail is to inquire who is willing to help out with the signature gathering effort. I am asking if people can give the following information if they are willing to help out:
1. How many signatures would you commit to trying to obtain and/or how much time could you put in until November 16th.
2. If you would recruit others to help
Materials will be provided. If people tell a friend, and they tell a friend, and so on, the list of volunteers can grow really fast. 🙂
For a reminder of why this effort is necessary please see: www.maforests.org/ All of the logging in these photos is on State Public Lands.
Also, at the following link is an animation demonstrating the impacts that would occur on MA forests from proposed biomass power plants. www.maforests.org/Impacts.htm
This referendum would protect public lands from this threat.
Please respond as soon as possible in order to determine whether Massachusetts Forest Watch will be able to provide help to the heroic attorney speaking up for the trees. Also, if you are part of an organization and it would be willing to endorse this effort, that would be immensely helpful as well.
Additionally, FYI, there is another referendum under way to prohibit taxpayer “clean” energy funds from funding new power plants that release more CO2 per MW than coal (a.k.a. biomass), and our forest protection effort could easily dovetail with the biomass one since public lands are being targeted to provide 55% of the wood fuel for the large biomass plants.
I look forward to your response,
Chris Matera, P.E.
Massachusetts Forest Watch