- February 12, 1931 – R. D. Moot to Hon. Alexander G. Baxter (Schenectady) –
I was delighted to hear that you are opposed to the proposed Hewitt amendment to the constitution which would permit the state to engage in the production of pulp wood in about two-thirds of the forest preserve area.
Some years ago the legislature enacted Section 16 of the tax law to encourage reforestation by exempting reforested lands from taxation. The commendable purpose of this law has been largely defeated by a law passed in 1929 (Section 60-a of the conservation law), appropriating money to enable the Conservation Commission to engage in reforestation for the commercial production of pulpwood. With this assurance of tax subsidized state competition no private owner can well afford to engage in reforestation even when his reforested land is made tax exempt.
The Hewitt amendment proposes that the legislature shall continue appropriating money for the production of pulp wood under that law of 1929 and that the constitutional prohibition against the state cutting and selling timber in the forest preserve area shall be so far removed that the Commission may extend its production of pulp wood, under the law of 1929, into the large portion of the forest preserve are now dotted with the pulp mills of the lumber companies. The amendment effectively destroys the very purpose of section 7 of Article VII of the constitution as prepared by Elihu Root and recommended to the people of the state by the Constitutional Convention of 1894.
The law of 1929 is bad and the Hewitt amendment which would permit the state production of pulp wood under it in the forest preserve area is worse The conservation Commission has more than it can do if it will devote its entire energies to the acquisition and permanent reforestation of land needed for park and conservation purposes in the forest preserve area.
Section 60-a of the conservation law should be repealed and any unexpended appropriation under it should be transferred to the funds provided for reforestation in the forest preserve.
Your sound stand for conservation is a most auspicious beginning for your first term as senator.
Very truly yours,
- D. Moot