To the great joy of Canadian loggers, British Columbia’s Liberal government unveiled a plan this week to streamline the approval process for forest cutting by April 2003. “The entire framework asks for a lot of trust and faith in the activities of forest corporations,” said University of British Columbia forestry professor George Hoberg. Forest Minister Mike de Jong announced the new legislation on Monday, standing alongside more than a dozen forestry industry leaders. He said the bill would cut 18 steps from the logging approval process while maintaining environmental standards. Under the new self-policing framework, companies would have to prepare stewardship plans to protect rivers, rare species, and so forth, but the plans wouldn’t have to be approved by the government. Environmentalists are reeling at the thought of a roll back, warning that the changes could set off a renewed war in the woods.
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