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Analysis: Farm Act Axes Motive To Protect Shoreline Trees

A little-noticed rule in the North Carolina Farm Act of 2023 could bring noticeable changes to North Carolina’s streams, lakes, reservoirs, ponds and estuaries, and some conservation advocate are worried.

This new provision limits civil penalties for removing timber in a riparian buffer “in violation of rules applicable to that riparian buffer” from a maximum of $25,000 per violation to the civil penalty being capped at no more than the value of the timber removed.

quarterly report released last week by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension forestry office shows that the most recent state-wide average standing timber prices range from $7.57 to $41.44 a ton, depending on the species, quality and product.

North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality Deputy Secretary for Public Affairs Sharon Martin explained last week that the agency is incorporating the legislative changes into the enforcement process and each civil penalty is determined based on the specific details of the case and the applicable rules and regulations.

“The changes may limit the maximum amount of the penalties that can be issued,” she said.

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