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E-M:/ ACT NOW: House Subcom passes timber mandate on State Forests



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Enviro-Mich message from anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org
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In a vote this morning, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural
Resources and Environmental Affairs has passed its Department of Natural
Resources FY99 Budget with language that would MANDATE a floor of 855,000
cords of timber to be marked for logging on Michigan's 3.9 million acres of
State Forest lands.  

TOMORROW AFTERNOON AT 3:00 THE FULL APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE WILL CONSIDER THE
DNR FY99 BUDGET BILL. 

Please take a moment to call the Chair of the House Appropriations,
Representative Morris Hood at (517) 373-3815 BEFORE 2 P.M. WEDNESDAY
APRIL 22 (EARTH DAY!!!) asking that the timber marking mandate in HB 5915 be
DELETED!!!

Here is why:

This mandate supposedly came about because of reductions in DNR Forest
Management Division staff, which means that the legislature will be telling
DNR the ONLY THING THEY CARE ABOUT IN MICHIGAN'S STATE FORESTS IS GIVING THE
TIMBER INDUSTRY MORE TREES TO CUT!!!

- The mandated marking of trees for logging ignores ALL other values of
these publicly owned forests including:
     - recreational interests such as trails, campgrounds, etc.
     - hunting interests and attention wildlife needs
     - protection of endangered and threatened plant and other species
     - protection of watercourses, fisheries and other aquatic resources

- The mandated marking of trees for logging makes no economic sense whatsoever
because:
     - it ignores market forces, creating no incentive for DNR to hold back
timber sales even when they undercut neighboring private forest owners who
can't compete against the biggest timber dealer in the state,
     - it talks only about the amount of wood to be cut, with no attention to
the fact that the state and loggers can make much more money by cutting some
species in smaller amounts (sawlogs, veneer, etc.) while this mandate almost
forces increasing the easiest to mark and lowest both market value and
added value timber sales (clearcuts for pulp wood), because of staffing
shortages.

What justifications have been given for this nonsensical proposal, in light of
all these arguments against it?  Some within the Legislature contend this is
just a "recommendation" to the DNR, but the language states it is a mandate.
Some contend the increased funds will be used to improve planning but 1) to
do planning for State Forests you need to have staff to do it, and the
Governor is reducing staff, NOT increasing it to allow for planning, 2) the
State Forest timber sale levels in the last several years have brought in much
more money than has been appropriated back to the Forest Management Division,
so money is not the problem with doing planning, and 3) if the Legislature
wants to mandate planning for state forests and to pay for it they should
write that into the budget, instead of mandating a floor on marking of timber
for timber sales!!

Urge the House Appropriations Committee to kill this idiotic provision of the
DNR Budget Bill!!!

For more information, contact Anne Woiwode, Sierra Club
anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org, or 517-484-2372



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