Georgia Law To Combat Timber Thefts Goes Into Effect
By: Georgia Farm Bureau
7/24/2014 2:51:56 PM
A new Georgia law designed to address unauthorized harvest of timber went into effect July 1.
The Timber Security law (HB 790), which passed both chambers of the Georgia General Assembly and was signed into law by Gov. Nathan Deal on April 24, extends investigative and arresting authority to the Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) in cases of unauthorized timber harvest, similar to the powers the GFC already has for cases of timber arson.
"We appreciate the legislature's support and the hard work of all the stakeholders involved in this effort," said Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. "This issue has been a priority of our organization, and through its passage, we expect to see landowner's property better protected. Now, timber owners will have a mechanism in place to recoup loses when they have been adversely affected by an unauthorized harvest."
The law also allows landowners to be compensated at three times the fair market value of the trees, three times the diminished value of the damaged trees, reasonable reforestation costs plus attorney and litigation fees. Previously the damages awarded were set at the value of the timber harvested.
The bill, which was strongly supported by Georgia Farm Bureau, requires a scale ticket and payment to be provided to the landowner within 20 days of harvest. Violations of the 20-day rule are considered a misdemeanor for each load. The new law establishes a four-year statute of limitations for victims to recover damages from unauthorized harvest of trees.
For more information about the law, visit http://tinyurl.com/timberlaw.
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