Senate Bill No. 357
(By Senators Williams, Beach, D. Hall, Miller, Sypolt, Plymale and Tucker)
[Introduced January 15, 2014; referred to the Committee on Natural Resources; and then to the Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to repeal §19-1B-12 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; and to amend and reenact §19-1B-12a, all relating to civil and criminal penalties for violations of the Logging Sediment Control Act pertaining to timber operations.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §19-1B-12 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be repealed; and that §19-1B-12a of said code be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 1B. SEDIMENT CONTROL DURING COMMERCIAL TIMBER HARVESTING OPERATIONS.
§19-1B-12a. Criminal and civil penalties.
(a) It is illegal for a person to:
(1) Conduct timbering operations, purchase timber, or buy logs for resale in this state without holding a valid license from the Director of the Division of Forestry, as required by section four of this article;
(2) Conduct timbering operations or sever trees for sale at a location in this state without providing the Director of the Division of Forestry with notice of the location where the timbering or harvesting operations are to be conducted, as required by section six of this article;
(3) Conduct a timbering operation in this state that is not supervised by a certified logger who holds a valid certificate from the Director of the Division of Forestry, as required by section seven of this article;
(4) Continue to conduct timbering operations in violation of a suspension or revocation order that has been issued by the Director of the Division of Forestry or a conference panel under sections five, ten or eleven of this article; and
(5) Fail to reclaim the real property in accordance with the best management practices set forth by the Division of Forestry and the committee established in subsection (h), section eight of this article.
(b) Criminal and civil penalties. -- A person that violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined not less than $250 nor more than $500 for each violation. In addition to fines and costs, a person or entity convicted of a violation of this section shall pay a $500 civil penalty to the division within sixty days. The civil penalty shall be collected by the court in which the person is convicted, forwarded to the division and deposited in the Division of Forestry Timber Operations Enforcement Fund (3082) to be used to administer the provisions of this section.
(c) Each day that a person is in violation of this section constitutes a separate criminal and civil offense.
(d) In addition to any other law-enforcement agencies that have jurisdiction over criminal violations, any forester or forest technician employed by the Division of Forestry, who, as a part of his or her official duties is authorized by the Director of the Division of Forestry to inspect timbering operations, is authorized to issue citations for any of the listed violations in this article that he or she has witnessed. The limited authority granted to employees of the Division of Forestry to issue citations to enforce the provisions of this section does not include the power to place any individual or person under arrest.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to combine the existing Logging Sediment Control Act civil penalties in former section twelve with the criminal penalties in section twelve-a to create administrative efficiency in prosecuting cases and collecting the associated fines and penalties. The bill also adds another criminal penalty, “Failure to Reclaim,” to the criminal penalties section to give the agency another level of enforcement for timber operators who refuse to comply and leave the operation out of compliance.
§19-1B-12 is repealed.
§19-1B-12a has been completely rewritten; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.
This bill was recommended for introduction and passage during the Regular Session of the Legislature by the Forest Management Review Commission.