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Commonwealth's Counties

Bill Creating a New Exemption from Stormwater Regulations for Harvesting of Trees Passes House Subcommittee

Under current code, the clearing of land for the harvesting of forest products is exempt from applying to comply with the provisions of the Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP) law so long as the land is “reforested artificially or naturally” or “converted to bona fide agricultural or improved pasture.”

HB 2282 (Edmunds) as amended would allow for the clearing of “… lands for the harvesting of forest crops when the areas on which harvesting occurs is not intended to be reforested artificially or naturally … or converted to bona fide agricultural or improved pasture … provided that the land-disturbing activity is the minimum land disturbance necessary, including clearing, grading, excavating, or removal of stumps, for the harvesting of timber and the construction of roads and trails for forest management purposes.”

The amended bill passed in House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee by a vote of 13 to 8 and is headed to the House floor consideration.

VACo asks counties to review this proposed exemption and provide any feedback on how this impacts administration and enforcement of local land disturbing activities.

VACo Contact: James Hutzler

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