This article shall be known by and may be cited as "The Forestry Development Act of l987."
The Legislature hereby finds and declares:
(a) That the future economic base of West Virginia is tied to the development of the forestry industry.
(b) That efforts to enhance and promote the expansion of the forestry industry should be coordinated among the several state and federal agencies, commissions, boards, committees, associations and other entities.
(c) That the development of the forestry and wood products industry will require: (1) The development of multiple-use, sustained-yield management plans for nonindustrial timber tracts; (2) the development of products and markets for the grade of materials that currently comprise a majority of the state's available resources; (3) a stable and predictable tax program for both new and existing firms; (4) a centralized protection program that will reduce risk from fire and pestilence; and (5) financial assistance for the attraction and expansion of new and existing secondary manufacturing facilities with special emphasis on assistance for smaller firms employing less than twenty persons.
(d) That the present and future welfare of the people of the state require, as a public purpose, a continuing effort toward the promotion and development of the forestry and wood products industry.
(e) In recognition of these findings and purposes, it is in the best interest of this state to create the West Virginia forest management review commission as a statutory body.
The West Virginia forest management review commission heretofore created is hereby continued for the purposes set forth in this article. This commission shall be comprised of five members from the West Virginia Senate, a cochairman and four members to be appointed by the Senate president, and five members of the House of Delegates, a cochairman and four members to be appointed by the speaker; four members to be representatives from the commercial forest industry in the state, and three members of the public-at-large. The seven nonlegislative members shall be appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate. Two members shall be appointed to serve a term of two years; three members shall be appointed to serve a term of four years; and two members shall be appointed to serve a term of six years. The successor of each such appointed member shall be appointed for an overlapping term of six years, except that any person appointed to fill a vacancy occurring prior to the expiration of the term for which the predecessor was appointed shall be appointed only to the remainder of such term. Each board member shall serve until the appointment of his or her successor.
The commission shall have the power, duty and responsibility to:
(a) Generally assist in the retention, expansion and attraction of forestry and forestry related industries by creating a climate for the development and support of the industry.
(b) Coordinate the current efforts to enhance and promote the expansion of the forestry industry among the several state and federal agencies, commissions, boards, committees, associations and other entities.
(c) Urge the development of multiple-use sustained-yield management plans for nonindustrial timber tracts.
(d) Develop products and markets for the grade of materials that currently comprise a majority of the state's resources.
(e) Recommend a stable and predictable tax program for both new and existing firms in the state.
(f) Develop a centralized and enhanced protection program that will reduce risks from fire and pestilence.
(g) Develop financial assistance for the attraction and expansion of new and existing secondary manufacturing facilities, with special emphasis on assistance for smaller firms employing less than twenty persons.
(h) Utilize recognized research expertise of appropriate existing educational, public and industrial institutions or agencies of the state. Research shall include economic development efforts in West Virginia, including silviculture, wood land management, forest management, the development of new products as well as other products designed to aid forestry development.
(i) Employ, if needed, and only with prior approval of the West Virginia Legislature's Joint Committee on Government and Finance, such staff as may be necessary. In the event an executive director may be necessary, such individual shall be a forestry graduate of a four-year college of forestry and shall, in addition, have administrative and research experience, preferably, but not mandatorily, with at least five years' experience in government.
The appalachian hardwood research center is hereby created, in association with, and the director shall be a member of the faculty of, the forestry school at West Virginia University. The center shall utilize, to the extent possible, the programs already created under the vandalia partnership program as provided for in chapter five-b, article two-a, section four, et seq., of this code.
The appalachian hardwood research center at West Virginia University is directed to establish priorities and coordinate its research functions with the Governor and the Legislature. The center shall: (1) Develop and maintain a computerized inventory of all possible scientific information relating to appalachian hardwood tree species, silviculture, management, products and product development; (2) initiate research projects, including applied research, either originally or by request, designed to aid forestry economic development efforts in West Virginia, including the development of new products as well as other projects designed to increase the utility of low grade appalachian hardwoods; and (3) be generally responsible for encouraging the development of research needed by the forest industry of the state.
The members of the commission shall be reimbursed for all of their reasonable and necessary travel and other expenses incurred in connection with carrying out their duties as members, which expenses shall be paid in the manner and form prescribed by law. Members of the commission may receive no other compensation for their services on or with the commission.
The commission shall report to the Legislature's Joint Committee on Government and Finance as to the progress being made in forestry development activity by state governmental entities and projects, and shall report, at least annually, but more often if requested, the financing deemed necessary to continue funding, if desired, of forestry development activities.
Acts, 1997 Reg. Sess., Ch. 58.