1976 South Carolina Code of Laws
Updated through the end of the 2000 Session
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Title 48 - Environmental Protection and Conservation
SECTION 48-23-10. State Commission of Forestry.
There is created and established a State Commission of Forestry to consist of nine members, each of whom shall be a resident of this State and shall be appointed by the Governor. Of this commission, two members shall be practical lumbermen, one member shall be a farmer who is a landowner, three members shall be selected and appointed from the public at large, two members shall be appointed by the Governor from the public at large upon the advice and consent of the Senate and the ninth member shall be the President of Clemson University or the Dean of the School of Forestry to serve as his designee on the commission. The members of the commission shall be selected and appointed with reference to their knowledge of and interest in the forests of the State and the products derived therefrom. In making his appointments, the Governor shall make all reasonable effort to provide representation from every geographical section of the State and a reasonable balance between the interests of corporations and individuals.
SECTION 48-23-20. Terms of office of members of Commission.
The terms of office of the present members of the State Commission of Forestry are hereby extended from the thirtieth day of May to the thirtieth day of June of the year in which their present terms expire. The successor to the member whose term expires hereunder on June 30, 1953 shall be appointed for a term of five years from that date, and the successors to the members whose terms expire on June 30, 1954, 1955 and 1956, respectively, shall be for a period of six years, and thereafter all appointive members shall be appointed for a term of six years. The president of Clemson University shall continue a member of the Commission as long as he retains his office as president of the University.
SECTION 48-23-30. Chairman of Commission; meetings.
The members of the Commission shall from their number select a chairman whose duty shall be to call the Commission together as often as the public interests and need demand. The place of the meeting shall be designated by the chairman, who shall likewise designate a place for the headquarters of the State Forester.
SECTION 48-23-40. Payment of Commission members' expenses.
The members of the Commission shall be paid their actual expenses while in attendance upon the meetings of the Commission or while going to and from such meetings.
SECTION 48-23-50. Appointment, qualifications and duties of State Forester.
The Commission shall appoint and employ a State Forester, who shall be a technically trained forester with at least two years' experience in technical, practical and administrative work, and shall fix his compensation. The State Forester shall perform all such duties as shall be directed by the Commission and shall be charged with the direction of all matters relative to forestry as authorized by the provisions of Sections 48-23-60 to 48-23-90, subject, however, to the supervision and control of the Commission. The State Forester may be removed by the Commission, if he is, or in the opinion of the Commission becomes, for any cause unsuitable or incompetent.
SECTION 48-23-60. State Forester shall be secretary to Commission.
The State Forester shall serve as the secretary of the Commission and shall be custodian of the books, records and papers of the Commission which he shall keep at the headquarters designated by the Commission.
SECTION 48-23-70. Unauthorized cutting or removal of trees and destruction of property or scenic values of State forests.
Any person who:
(1) Without permission of the State Commission of Forestry, shall remove any shrub or tree, or attempt so to do, from any State forest;
(2) Shall cut or mutilate any shrub or tree growing in any State forest without such permission;
(3) Shall mutilate or deface any property, real or personal, upon any State forest; or
(4) Shall destroy scenic values, by dumping rubbish or in any other way whatsoever, within the confines of any State forest;
Shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction shall be punished by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars or imprisonment for not more than thirty days, within the discretion of the court.
SECTION 48-23-80. General powers of Commission.
The State Commission of Forestry may acquire, own, sell, lease, exchange, transfer, rent, pledge and mortgage real and personal property and cooperate with all agencies of the Federal Government in all matters pertaining to reforestation and providing employment for the benefit of the public and may also cooperate with any other department of government of this State to accomplish the intent and purposes of this chapter, and any and all powers deemed necessary for the Commission to conform to any act of Congress or to any rule or regulation promulgated by any duly authorized agency of the Federal Government is hereby vested in the Commission.
SECTION 48-23-85. Power of Commission to negotiate agreements with Federal Agencies for certain services on Federal lands.
The Forestry Commission may negotiate agreements with Federal Agencies for providing fire, detection, presuppression, and suppression services on Federal lands. The charges for these services must be no less than the cost to the Commission for rendering the services. All receipts from services provided by the Commission must be used to offset the cost of providing the services. When the State Forester determines the assistance received from a federal agency on adjoining private or state lands equals that provided by the state on federal lands, no charges will be made.
SECTION 48-23-86. Duties of State Forester and Forestry Commission with respect to forest disasters; development of Forest Disaster Plan.
The State Forester shall take immediate action upon report of a forest disaster to determine the extent of damage by conducting ground and aerial surveys including photography if necessary. When conditions warrant, the State Forester shall declare that a forest disaster exists and notify the Governor of his action.
All necessary resources of the Forestry Commission may be used to assist citizens and local governments on public and private land where life or health is in danger. The Forestry Commission shall also assist other state agencies, utility companies and cooperatives, in the clearing of transportation routes, and power and communication lines.
The Forestry Commission shall develop a Forest Disaster Plan to provide for systematic salvage and utilization of all forest products damaged by disasters of all types. This plan shall provide methods to coordinate all forestry community interests and groups to conserve the damaged forest resources of South Carolina, protect the environment and reestablish forests on the damaged areas.
After the disaster area has resumed normal status and salvage is completed, the State Forester shall declare the forest disaster over, compile a report of the disaster, and inform the Governor.
SECTION 48-23-90. General duties of Commission.
The Commission shall inquire into and make an annual report to the General Assembly upon the forest conditions in the State, with reference to the preservation of forests, the effect of the destruction of forests upon the general welfare of the State and other matters pertaining to the subject of forestry and tree growth, including recommendations to the public generally as to reforestation.
It shall take such action and afford such organized means as may be necessary to prevent, control and extinguish fires, including the enforcement of any and all laws pertaining to the protection of the forests and woodlands of the State.
It shall give such advice, assistance and cooperation as may be practical to private owners of land and promote, so far as it may be able, a proper appreciation by the public of the advantages of forestry and the benefits to be derived from forest culture and preservation.
It shall cooperate with the Federal Government in the distribution of funds allotted to the State for forestry purposes and shall assist in the enforcement of all laws pertaining thereto. It shall have the control of the expenditure of all funds received by it.
SECTION 48-23-95. Official summons form for making arrests; disposition of charges.
The State Commission of Forestry shall prescribe and prepare a special official summons form to be used exclusively by its forest law enforcement officers in making arrests for offenses punishable by fines not to exceed two hundred dollars or imprisonment not to exceed thirty days.
Any person charged with such offenses shall, upon service of the commission summons by a forest law enforcement officer, appear in the court therein named at the time and place designated and such service shall vest in the court jurisdiction to hear and dispose of the charge for which the summons was issued.
SECTION 48-23-96. Appointment and training of officers for forest law enforcement.
The South Carolina Forestry Commission shall appoint officers for forest law enforcement whose terms of office shall be permanent unless revoked by the Commission. Officers may be removed by the Commission on proof satisfactory to it that they are not fit persons for such positions. Such officers shall carry out the forest law enforcement responsibilities of the Commission, including the training of other personnel, shall enforce statutes enacted for the protection of forests and woodlands from fire, insects and diseases, and shall make arrests for violations of forestry laws.
Such officers shall have authority to obtain and serve warrants including warrants for violations of any duly enacted regulations of the Forestry Commission.
The Forestry Commission shall, in coordination with the Criminal Justice Academy, establish training programs consistent with the Commission's particular needs in forest law enforcement.
SECTION 48-23-100. Commission may grow and sell forest tree seedlings and transplants; restrictions; receipts to revolving fund; purchase for resale and revolving fund therefor.
The State Commission of Forestry may grow and sell tree seedlings and transplants to landowners desiring to plant them for reforestation, wildlife, and Christmas tree purposes.
No trees may be sold by the commission under the provisions of this section that are to be planted for table trees, potted trees, or shade trees or for ornamental use. Nothing in this section may be construed to prohibit the commission from growing seedlings or transplants for distribution to be planted on state or federal lands, public school grounds, and other public institutions or along state highways.
All receipts from the sale of tree seedlings or transplants under the provisions of this section must be retained by the Forestry Commission for use by the commission in the operation of forest tree nurseries and seed orchards.
The commission may refund deposits placed with it for tree seedling orders.
When demand for forest tree seedlings from landowners in this State exceeds the supply available from commission nurseries, the commission may purchase seedlings for resale at cost plus shipping and one dollar a thousand for administrative costs. The revenue received from the resale and distribution of these seedlings must be retained in a seedling purchase revolving fund and expended only for that purpose.
SECTION 48-23-110. Conveyance of State-owned wasteland to Commission.
The State Budget and Control Board shall convey to the State Commission of Forestry certain wastelands now owned by such Board or hereafter owned by the State, as in the judgment of the Board may be to the interest of the State for forestry development, reforestation or other uses of the State Commission of Forestry.
Upon the sale of trees, timber or other articles or things upon such lands conveyed to the Commission by the Board or upon the sale of such lands so conveyed, the Commission shall pay to the Board a sum equal to the amount chargeable against such lands at the time of such conveyance.
SECTION 48-23-120. Acquisition by Commission of real estate for timber production and other purposes.
The State Commission of Forestry may acquire, by purchase, gift or otherwise, submarginal agricultural lands and cut over forest lands in this State at an average price not to exceed five dollars per acre and in no event above ten dollars per acre and use such lands for timber production, demonstration in forestry practice, erosion and flood prevention, game sanctuaries, public shooting grounds and places of general recreation.
SECTION 48-23-130. Acquisition by Commission of lands for State forests.
The State Commission of Forestry may enter into agreements with the Federal Government or other agencies for acquiring by lease, purchase or otherwise such lands as in the judgment of the Commission are desirable for State forests. When lands are acquired or leased under this section the Commission may make expenditures from any funds not otherwise obligated for the management, development and utilization of such areas and may sell or otherwise dispose of products from such lands and make such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this section.
SECTION 48-23-132. Purposes for which revenues from specified sources may be used.
Revenue received from hunting privileges, rentals, fuel wood sales, the marketing of pine straw, merchantable timber, forest tree seed, and miscellaneous products on commission lands, excluding Sand Hills State Forest, must be retained by the commission to be used for reforestation of the Manchester State Forest, the development and operation of state forests and forest tree seed orchards, the maintenance of wildlife habitat, and the administration and operation of various programs on commission holdings. The commission may carry forward unexpended funds under this section to be used for those purposes.
SECTION 48-23-135. Forestry Commission authorized to borrow.
In order to finance the cost of acquiring land for use as a second generation tree seed orchard, additional seedling production facilities, and field offices, the State Forestry Commission may borrow from one or more financial institutions or from whatever other source is appropriate not exceeding two million dollars for a period of time as needed, not exceeding twenty years, and upon the terms and conditions the commission, with the approval of the State Budget and Control Board, agrees upon.
SECTION 48-23-136. Pledge of revenue.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, for the payment of the loan and the interest thereon, there is annually pledged all revenues derived from the sale of timber from Forestry Commission lands which exceed the amount of one hundred eight thousand, six hundred seventy dollars to be credited to the General Fund of the State and those funds designated for allocation to counties under the provisions of Section 48-23-260 of the 1976 Code, and all donations and revenues made available to the Commission for this purpose. Each year, after allocation of revenue from timber sales to the General Fund, counties, and the payment of principal and interest on the loan, any remaining funds may be used for the reforestation of Forestry Commission lands cut pursuant to this section and Section 48-23-135. Any unexpended balance at the close of each fiscal year must be carried forward and expended in accordance with the provisions of this section and Section 48-23-135.
SECTION 48-23-140. Acceptance by Commission of gifts and the like.
The State Commission of Forestry may accept and hold gifts, donations or contributions from individuals, associations, corporations, counties, municipalities, the Federal Government or other agencies and may acquire real estate for purposes within the powers and duties of the Commission. Any gift, donation or contribution accepted and held by the Commission under the provisions of this section shall be used for the purpose specified by the donor. The Commission may accept conveyances and leases of real and personal property for, in the name of, and on behalf of the State from the Secretary of the Interior of the United States, subject to the terms and conditions of the act of Congress of June 6, 1942 (56 US Statutes 326).
SECTION 48-23-145. Compensation supplements paid to personnel of commission of forestry.
Compensation supplements paid commission personnel by counties or other political subdivisions, or both, must not be extended to additional employees nor increased.
SECTION 48-23-150. Disbursement of funds.
All of such funds shall be disbursed by the State Treasurer upon warrants drawn by the State Commission of Forestry.
SECTION 48-23-160. Commission may sell, exchange or lease lands.
The Commission may sell, exchange or lease lands under its jurisdiction when in its judgment it is advantageous to the State to do so for the most orderly development and management of State forests, except that no such sale, lease or exchange shall be contrary to the terms of any contract which the Commission has entered into.
SECTION 48-23-170. Execution of deeds, mortgages or contracts by Commission.
Whenever it shall become necessary to execute deeds, mortgages or contracts to carry out any of the provisions of this chapter the Commission may, by resolution duly adopted, delegate the execution and delivery of any such documents to the chairman of the Commission and the State Forester. Such instruments shall be executed in the name of the State Commission of Forestry, shall be signed by the chairman and by the State Forester and, in case of deeds or mortgages, shall be witnessed and probated as required by law. Such instruments, when so authorized by resolution of the Commission, executed as above set out and delivered, shall be in all respects the acts of the State Commission of Forestry and shall be binding upon it as fully as if executed by the members of the Commission themselves.
SECTION 48-23-180. Commission may mark and tally forestry products if so requested by landowner.
The State Commission of Forestry may mark or tally trees under approved forestry practices preparatory to the cutting or using of such trees for lumber, veneer, poles, piling, pulpwood, cordwood and all other forest products when and if requested by the landowner or his agent. The landowner or his agent shall pay to the Commission for such services for forested tracts of five hundred acres or less five per cent of the sale price of the stumpage so marked within thirty days following the removal of the timber or ten per cent of the agreed upon value of the products so marked and for all forested tracts in excess of five hundred acres such amount on the first five hundred acres and twenty per cent of the sale price of the stumpage so marked upon all acres in excess of five hundred. Such amount shall be paid by the Commission to the State Treasurer and by him credited to the Federal revolving fund now in existence, for use for the purpose of this section and for general forestry purposes.
SECTION 48-23-190. Commission may permit telephone line attachments to its poles; charges.
The State Commission of Forestry may permit telephone line attachments to its poles under such terms and conditions as the Commission deems advisable and charge standard rental rates therefor. But before the Commission shall grant authority for such attachments it shall require the applicant to sign an agreement prescribed by the Commission, setting forth the terms and conditions under which such attachments shall be installed and maintained.
SECTION 48-23-200. Rules and regulations of Commission.
The State Commission of Forestry may make such rules and regulations as it deems advisable for the protection, preservation, operation and maintenance, and for the most beneficial service to the general public, of the State forests in this State.
SECTION 48-23-210. Pledge of income by Commission for repayment of labor costs.
The Commission may pledge fifty per cent of the net income from lands acquired under Section 48-23-120 for the repayment of labor costs incurred under Federal laws pertaining to reforestation, should such be made a requisite by the Federal Government.
SECTION 48-23-220. Borrowing by Commission.
The State Commission of Forestry may borrow from time to time sums of money not exceeding five hundred thousand dollars from any source available and issue evidences of indebtedness therefor in the form of notes or bonds, as may be determined by the Commission, at a rate of interest not exceeding six per cent per annum, payable either annually or semiannually, as the Commission may determine, and with such maturities as may be determined by the Commission, not exceeding, however, twenty years from the date of issue of the first obligation issued hereunder. The Commission may secure any sums borrowed under the terms hereof by mortgage of any property owned by it and it may also pledge any and all income of every kind and pledge any and all rents, incomes, issues and profits accruing to it from any of its properties and any rights or privileges accruing to it under any contract of sale or lease. Unless otherwise provided herein, all of the details of any loan and the manner of execution of the evidences of indebtedness and of the mortgages or other security authorized to be pledged shall be within the discretion of the Commission.
SECTION 48-23-230. State shall not be liable for Commission's obligations under Section 48-23-220; method of repayment.
The State is in no manner liable for any debt incurred under the terms of Section 48-23-220 but all such obligations shall be met by the State Forestry Commission out of moneys coming into its hands from the property pledged and at least fifty per cent of its income from sales, issues, rents, profits and leases shall be applied annually to the payment of principal and interest due on any such loan.
SECTION 48-23-240. State shall not be bound on Commission obligations under Section 48-23-130.
Obligations for the acquisition of land incurred by the Commission under the authority of Section 48-23-130 shall be paid solely and exclusively from revenues derived from such lands and shall not impose any liability upon the general credit and taxing power of the State.
SECTION 48-23-250. Use of revenues from land; generally.
The revenues derived from lands owned by the Commission shall be segregated by the State Treasurer for the use of the Commission in the acquisition, management, development and use of such lands until all obligations incurred have been paid in full. Fifty per cent of all net profits accruing from the administration of such lands shall be applicable for such purposes as the General Assembly may prescribe and fifty per cent shall be paid into the school fund of the county in which the lands are located.
SECTION 48-23-260. Counties containing State forest lands shall share in revenues.
The State Treasurer shall pay to any county containing State forest lands an amount equal to twenty-five per cent of the gross proceeds received by the State in each fiscal year from the sale of timber, pulpwood, poles, gravel, land rentals and other privileges on such State forest lands in any such county. This provision shall apply to all State forest lands managed or operated by the State Commission of Forestry whether they be owned in fee by the State or leased from the United States, but this provision shall not apply to State parks. The funds herein provided for shall be spent for general school purposes. Where a particular State forest lies in more than one county or school district, the funds derived from such State forest and to be paid by the State Treasurer shall be apportioned on the basis of land acreage involved. All funds distributed under the provisions of this section shall be spent upon the approval of a majority of the county legislative delegation, including the Senator.
SECTION 48-23-270. Use of revenue for scrub oak eradication, reforestation, timber stand improvement and harvest cutting in State parks.
(1) The State Commission of Forestry is hereby authorized to expend annually an amount not to exceed one half the total receipts derived annually from the State parks (sale of timber products only) under the administration of the Commission in order to commence a program not exceeding seven years to carry out scrub oak eradication operations, timber stand improvement and other management activities on State park lands and for the reforestation of such treated areas. Provided, the State Commission of Forestry shall first expand such funds as are derived hereunder for necessary reforestation projects and fixtures within the park from which timber has been cut and only thereafter shall such funds be expended on other State parks. The other half of the total receipts derived annually from the State parks and all unexpended funds, at the end of each fiscal year, heretofore herein authorized to be spent by the State Commission of Forestry for the purposes herein stated, shall be deposited to the general fund of the State. Provided, the State Treasurer shall pay to any county containing State park lands an amount equal to twenty-five per cent of the gross proceeds received by the State in each fiscal year from the sale of timber, pulpwood, and other timber products on such State park lands in any such county, which said payments shall be in lieu of taxes. This provision shall apply to all State park lands managed or operated by the State Commission of Forestry whether they be owned in fee by the State or leased from the United States and irrespective of Section 48-23-260. Where a particular State park lands lies in more than one county, the funds derived from such State park lands and to be paid by the State Treasurer shall be apportioned on the basis of land acreage involved. All funds distributed under the provision of this section shall be spent upon the approval of a majority of the county legislative delegations, including the Senator. The Commission may enter into contracts with such persons as may be necessary in order to carry out the provisions of this section. All timber shall be cut consistent with good forestry practices and such cutting shall not impair the value of the State parks as to beauty or for recreational purposes and no such timber shall be cut without the approval of the State Budget and Control Board. (2) The program herein authorized shall commence as soon as is practicable after June 8, 1965. Provided, that no expenditures or contracts authorized by this section shall be made without the approval of the State Budget and Control Board.
SECTION 48-23-280. Use of revenue for scrub oak eradication and reforestation in Manchester and Sandhills State Forests.
The Commission may expend annually an amount not to exceed the total receipts derived annually from the State forests under the administration of the Commission in order to commence a program not exceeding seven years to carry out scrub oak eradication operations on the Manchester and Sandhills State Forests and for the reforestation of such treated areas at a minimum rate of four thousand acres annually. The Commission may enter into contracts with such persons as may be necessary in order to carry out the provisions of this section. The program authorized in this section shall commence as soon as is practicable after May 24, 1960. No expenditures or contracts authorized by this section shall be made without the approval of the State Budget and Control Board. The provisions of this section shall in no way affect the provisions of Section 48-23-260.
SECTION 48-23-290. Use of income from Sandhills State Forest and Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge.
The State Commission of Forestry may use the income from the Sand Hills State Forest, with the approval of the State Budget and Control Board, for the operation, development, and obligations of the forest and other purposes. Income not expended in one year must be retained by the commission and carried forward each year for use pursuant to this section. The commission shall promulgate regulations necessary to carry out this section.
SECTION 48-23-295. Forestry services to landowners; fees; disposition; forestry services to local governments and state agencies; reimbursement.
(A) The State Commission of Forestry may make available forestry services consisting of scientific, technical, and practical services to landowners of the State to assist them in the afforestation, reforestation, and maximum production of their woodland. These services consist of specialized equipment and operators or rental of the equipment to perform labor and services necessary to carry out approved forestry practices including mechanical and chemical site preparation, processing forest tree seed, forest tree planting, insect and disease control, prescribed burning, firebreak plowing, and other appropriate practices to assist landowners in maximum production of their woodland.
(B) For the services or rentals a reasonable fee representing the commission's estimate of not less than the cost of the services or rentals must be charged. When the State Forester considers it in the public interest the services may be provided without charge to encourage the use of approved scientific forestry practices on private or other forestlands within the State or for the purposes of providing practical demonstrations of the practices.
(C) One hundred percent of the receipts from these activities and rentals must be retained by the commission for administration and operation of the forestry services program in the units which the estimated costs determine the fees charged generating these receipts, provided, the receipts from processing forest tree seed may be used agencywide. The administration of this section is under the State Forester. The landowner shall compensate the commission according to rates established by it. The commission may carry forward unexpended funds under this subsection to be used for these purposes.
(D) The commission may cooperate and offer the same services to counties, municipalities, and state agencies and make the forestry services and rental equipment available to them. Counties, municipalities, and state agencies shall reimburse the commission according to its fee schedule.