Dean Will Veto Logging on Champion Lands

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(Host) Governor Howard Dean says he will veto a budget adjustment bill that allows logging on the state’s share of the Champion lands.

VPRs Bob Kinzel reports.

(Kinzel) Governor Howard Dean has sent a very clear message to lawmakers as they consider the supplemental budget bill for this year. That message is: Don’t try to undo parts of the Champion Land deal that were adopted by the Legislature three years ago.

Some lawmakers are very upset that the State is trying to create a core reserve area on 12,500 acres of its portion of the former Champion lands. While virtually all recreational activities will be allowed in the core reserve, logging would be prohibited.

Several committees in the House are considering legislation to overturn this ban. The budget adjustment bill, which is being debated on the House floor this week, includes a similar provision.

The governor says the effort to lift the logging ban is a very bad idea:

(Dean) “The Legislature agreed four years ago to sustainable forestry on some of the land, to a series of camp leases, which are honored in the law, and to permanent access for the sportsmen. We’ve changed the easements so that the sportsmen are taken care of, and we believe now the existing easement is entirely in keeping with the law and what was promised. And the Champion language in the House goes back and revisits that. That I will not sign no matter what bill it is in.”

(Kinzel) The issue is likely to be decided by a House Senate conference committee on the budget adjustment bill. It’s likely that these negotiations will take place by the end of the month.

For Vermont Public Radio I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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