Last week, parliamentary journalists were reminded of an honest and very lively debate on the forest. Such a meeting on the first day of summer was arranged by the State Duma Committee on Ecology, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection. MEPs decide whether or not to impose a moratorium on adjustments Article 29 of the Forest Codeassociated with the ten-year forest inventory period
Taxation, as one of the speakers said, makes it possible to sell to a businessman not “a pig in a sack”, but “a described, taxable, comprehensible forest area”. In the current situation (mainly due to sanctions), the State Duma is considering a moratorium on the implementation of this rule. And to allow, for example, not only the state, but also the companies that lease forest plots to deal with forest management (taxation). It is true that not all Members agree with this.
Reforestation: long and difficult
One of the first and foremost issues addressed by MEPs and experts concerned forest protection. Vyacheslav Fetisov, First Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Ecology, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, recalled both the sad 1990s and the modern fires that are destroying green areas. He said that thirty years ago the forest began to be used “in every way”. “And this trend continues,” Fetisov said. We must do everything we can to control this area. It is important that we get involved in both the legislative work and the equipment of the people who are responsible for the forest “.
As for the fires, as the speaker said, “we are already breaking every record”.
Fetisov then went into more detail on the forestry profession, calling himself nostalgic, talking about how prestigious it was to work as a forester.
Concluding his speech on the protection of the forest, the first vice president stressed that the restoration of trees is very large and difficult. He was silent about how successful or not this process is going on now. Earlier, the President of the Accounting Chamber of the Russian Federation Alexei Kudrin raised the same problem. Speaking to members of the State Duma, he spoke about the analysis of the federal project “Forest Conservation”. Kudrin said that the auditors of the joint venture showed in the report the state of accounting for forests, data for their restoration.
“So far, the annual loss exceeds the reproduction volume,” said the head of the Accounting Office.
Moratorium on forest inventory
Then, the First Vice President turned to the specifics: they discussed the introduction of a moratorium on the amendment of Article 29 of the Forest Code, regarding the ten-year inventory period of forests. (Forest inventory is a term related to logging – ed.). We are talking about the fact that it is not allowed to provide forest areas for the use of forests for logging, if the forest inventory in relation to the respective forest plot was made more than ten years ago (based on the year of preparation the available forest management documentation for the respective forest plot).
“After the forest inventory, the sites can be put up for competition and worked on,” Sergei Bebenin, chairman of the Leningrad Oblast Legislative Assembly, told a news conference. The speaker said that he and his colleagues had prepared a proposal to introduce a moratorium on this rule of the Forest Code and approved it in the Council of Legislators. However, Bebenin expressed reservations that he had received amendments to Article 29 of the Forest Code concerning the ten-year period for conducting a forest inventory. They talk about the possibility of granting “additional plots” suitable for logging.
Towards the end of his speech, Bebenin admitted that he met a lot of Finnish businessmen who run businesses in the Leningrad region. They are dealing with the forest, but for now they have stopped all work. The President of the Legislative Assembly added that until June 1, foreign businessmen continued to pay salaries to people.
“There is a cutting area of 500,000 cubic meters per year,” Bebenin said. – Large production volume. This production employs about 160 people. “But neither the administration nor anyone else has an understanding of the future.”
The President of the Legislative Assembly of the Leningrad Region asked not to ignore this issue, but to return to its consideration in the future. In response, Fetisov said “yes” and hurried back to discussing forest management and taxation.
“The work will stop”
Today, there is no unity in the State Duma and there is no understanding: what will happen after the removal of the rule restricting the sale of land with a ten-year tax period. Thus, during the debate, a specific deadline was set – to introduce a moratorium until January 1, 2024 or 2025.
“I have the feeling that because of the anti-sanctions, because of the current economic situation, we want to release the chaos we have been fighting for so long,” said State Duma deputy Nikolai Nikolaev.
He spoke categorically against the proposals of his colleagues
“When a few years ago there was talk of illegal and completely irrational logging, the main reason for that was the lack of information. Therefore, we raised the issue of forest management at the federal level. But with the current signal of action, I think it is wrong to unleash the theft of the forest. That’s wrong, “said Nikolaev.
According to the MP, a lot has been done lately to force the state to deal with the management of forests throughout the country: “Yes, the process is difficult, we feel great resistance. Well, if we introduce a moratorium for another year, then this work will simply stop. The authorities will not do anything on the issue of forest management. “
Nikolaev added that now the state has no obstacles to carry out taxation and forest management activities at its own expense.
“Why am I still opposed to businesses getting involved in taxation? continued Nikolaev. The fact is that the data on forest management have been dispersed according to the owners. They belonged to some companies or timber traders “.
The MP made it clear that the innovation prepared by his colleagues is a “reckless act”.
“It will go back to a few years ago, when we were discussing forest theft every day,” said Nikolai Nikolaev.