Logging business fined in Vermont


A logger most of his life, Matt McAllister has seen nearly everything that can go wrong on a logging site.

“I’ve had plenty of issues I’ve had to fix,” McAllister said. “It’s just the nature of the beast.”

But McAllister, a native Vermonter, never lets those issues fester. He says he’s diligent about Acceptable Management Practices, or AMPs, regulations loggers must follow to maintain water quality on logging sites. “We’re not in it for two years. I mean, we’re in it for life. You wanna do a good job, you wanna keep the water clean, you wanna follow the AMPs. Most of it’s just common sense anyway,” McAllister explained.

Still, other loggers cut corners or fail to meet AMPs. Another logging company, Thomson Timber Harvesting and Trucking LLC, was just fined over $32,000 for violating AMPs. Between 2017 and 2020, the agency says Thomson Timber caused water quality and wetland issues on sites in Bridgewater and Thetford. Thomson Timber didn’t respond to our request for comment.

Watershed Forester David Wilcox with the Agency of Natural Resources says the state works hard to educate loggers about AMPs. “It’s a little frustrating. We try to make the rules as easy to follow as possible,” Wilcox explained. He says AMPs are there to preserve the environment: soil runoff can strip wetlands of nutrients, erode water banks and harm wildlife habitats. “We have a responsibility to follow the rules and implement good water quality practices so that we can show that we can harvest in Vermont and protect the environment.”

But even the most responsible loggers can struggle to meet AMPs. McAllister says they’re not only pricey but hard to maintain through increasingly unpredictable weather conditions like this winter. He recently met with Governor Scott to ask for support. “We really do need some help, especially when Mother Nature is at her worst.”

Wilcox says the state is working to offer loggers financial support so they’re better able to meet regulations.

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