FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 31, 2011
STATE’S WATER QUALITY PROTECTED BY FORESTRY COMMISSION COURTESY EXAMS
Agency’s Best Management Practices Program Achieves Nearly 100% Compliance
(Columbia, SC)- In what continues to be a long-running success story for the timber industry and the Forestry Commission, the voluntary guidelines known as Best Management Practices are protecting South Carolina jobs, land, and water every day of the year. In fact, South Carolina’s logging industry has a strong record of being proactive about protecting water.
“We’re seeing a stunning 98 percent compliance with the guidelines laid out in our BMP program,” reported Guy Sabin, Environmental Program Manager for the Forestry Commission.
BMPs provide guidelines for constructing logging roads, minimizing stream crossings, establishing buffer zones, and other aspects of forestry operations which could impact water quality. These standards are spelled out in an easy to understand guidebook published by the Commission and also online.
In addition to the written guidance, specially trained foresters with the Commission also offer free courtesy exams statewide to keep loggers and landowners from running afoul of state and federal environmental protection laws.
“Landowners and folks who work in the timber industry in South Carolina know how to run clean operations, so we don’t often have to refer cases to the Department of Health and Environmental Control,” Sabin says.
“It’s just good business to stick to BMPS, and that’s why we see nearly 100% compliance.”
Best Management Practices are good business for the Forestry Commission too. Their BMP program recently received high praise from the Southern Group of State Foresters. The Commission’s work was recognized by a multi-state review team as one of the premier programs in the southern U.S. that continues to be a leader in water resource protection.
But future program funding and SCFC budget reductions were a primary concern in that review. Also, national-level challenges are on the horizon in the form of pending legislation which would require more costly permitting.
Sabin says recent court cases have challenged long-standing EPA exemptions for forestry activities, and new rules have added additional permit requirements, ultimately driving the cost of doing business upward.
Forestry and timber products drive the economy in South Carolina, to the tune of $17.4 billion a year in economic impact. Among manufacturing sectors, forestry is number one in jobs and wages paid to South Carolinians.
Landowners harvesting timber can get a free BMP Courtesy Exam by contacting the SC Forestry Commission at 803-896-8593.
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News editors, for more information, call Scott Hawkins at (803) 896-8820
The SC Forestry Commission’s mission is to protect and develop South Carolina’s forest resource
For every $1.00 invested by SC in the Commission, the industry produces more than $1,800.00 of economic impact.