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Commissioners will consider logging ordinance in January

Published 4:56pm Thursday, November 29, 2012

Chilton County Commissioners will have the option to accept and implement a new logging ordinance in Chilton County in 2013.

The state passed Act 2012-257 in July, establishing a statewide standard for counties to utilize (as needed) a requirement for loggers using county roads while conducting their operations to provide notice prior to using county roads.

County engineer Tony Wearren said the state passed the law but decided to leave it up to the counties in Alabama on whether they wanted to adopt it.

“Basically, the law was created as a means for us to know what the loggers are doing within the county,” Wearren said. “A lot of times loggers come into the county and work on different projects without me knowing what they are working on and this ordinance requires me to be aware of what is happening throughout the county.”

The ordinance would allow Wearren to know specifics about certain roads throughout the county and keep track of certain roads that might have received damage from the logging trucks.

Wearren asked commissioners to consider the ordinance during a work session Nov. 19 and a special meeting to discuss the ordinance is scheduled for Jan. 7.

Counties are not required to adopt a notification system for loggers but if they choose to do so, commissioners must require loggers to provide prior notification.

The Alabama Forestry Association (AFA) opposes the model logging notice ordinance that has been distributed by the Association of County Commissions of Alabama (ACCA) fearing a negative effect on timber harvesting activities.

Currently, 14 counties within the state have adopted the ordinance including Autauga County who adopted it in October.

Autauga County engineer David Bufkin said since the ordinance has been approved things have been going smoothly.

“When everything was first approved we had some questions from the loggers due to them not being properly informed of what the ordinance meant,” Bufkin said. “After we explained everything they understood things more and we haven’t had any problems.”

Bufkn said one benefit Autauga County has seen is by keeping track of who is coming into the county to log.

“The new ordinance allows me to know who is logging and where they are doing it,” Bufkin said. “There are a lot of small county roads that before we didn’t know loggers were cutting down things and then we would receive calls from people complaining about how the road was left and we didn’t even know they were logging.”

Bufkin said Autauga County is similar to Chilton County due to logging trucks coming to both counties a lot during the winter months.

“Due to the warm climate both of our counties have, we attract a lot of loggers who come and cut in our woods due to us having warmer soil,” Bufkin said.

Bufkin said the loggers he knows do not have a problem with the newly implemented ordinance.

“If they are doing everything right they shouldn’t have a problem with it,” Bufkin said. “We have had nine approved so far and none of them have had any issues with it.”

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