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June 30/July 7, 2003
Sask introduces revisions to Forest Resources Management Act
REGINA, SASK-Amendments to Saskatchewan's Forest Resources Management Act, recently introduced by Environment Minister Buckley Belanger, are aimed at enhancing the province's negotiating position in the softwood lumber trade dispute between Canada and the U.S. One revision would allow competitive bidding to award new forest management agreements, with the province retaining the authority to place priority on Aboriginal and northern participation in new forest developments. Another amendment provides an option to require licence holders to sell a portion of their allowable annual log harvest on the open market. Further changes would: enable adjustments to timber dues to ensure that they reflect the true costs of forest management; and loosen minimum cut requirements and limit the government's ability to permanently remove harvesting rights for wood left unharvested. "These amendments remain consistent with our fundamental principles of public ownership of Crown forests and their sustainable management," Belanger said.