Pennsylvania Law recognizes and protects forestry as a beneficial land use, but some-times timber harvesting operations run into issues with unauthorized local ordinances.
On July 6, 2005, Act 39 also known as "ACRE" (Agriculture, Communities and Rural Environment) went into effect to ensure that ordinances adopted by local governments to regulate normal agricultural operations (which includes forestry and timber harvesting) are not in violation of state law.
Through ACRE, an owner or operator of a normal agricultural operation may request that the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) review a local ordinance that the owner or operator believes to be unauthorized. If, after reviewing the local ordinance, the OAG believes that the ordinance violates ACRE, the OAG and the local government will work together to bring the ordinance into compliance with state law. If a resolution cannot be reached, the OAG has the option of filing a lawsuit in the Common-wealth Court. If the OAG decides not to file a lawsuit, the owner or operator still can file a lawsuit in Commonwealth Court to challenge the ordinance.
The Pennsylvania SIC has developed a new fact sheet summarizing positions the OAG has taken on unauthorized ordinances related to timber harvesting. This fact sheet and other information related to timber harvesting ordinances is available on PA Sustainable Forestry Initiative’s website.