INDIANAPOLIS -- Efforts to limit logging in Indiana’s state forests have once again failed to advance at the statehouse. Two bills didn’t make it out of committee last week.
In previous legislative sessions, bills limiting logging in state forests have been stalled in committee with a lot of GOP opposition. This year, advocates were hoping for a change.
“The DNR is adamant that they should not receive a hearing. [They] could care less whether there’s bipartisan support for them or not. They don’t want the issues even discussed,” says Jeff Stant, Director of the Indiana Forest Alliance.
He says even though the bills were authored by Republicans this time, they didn’t get a hearing. He’s worried forests will be completely logged without legislation.
“The clock’s ticking,” Stant says. “In another decade we’ll have lost just about all these majestic forests.”
Although Stant accuses them of pressuring legislators not to hear the bills, the Department of Natural Resources says they are just trying to do what’s best for the state forests.
“We communicate with all members of the session, whether they’re the house or the senate,” says John Seifert, Director of the Division of Forestry of the Indiana DNR. “We tell them our story, tell them why we think our story is correct, and we let them make those decisions.”
The bills would have required at least ten percent of the state’s forests to remain untouched by loggers.