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E-M:/ Senate Approp SubCom considers Timber Marking Mandate

Enviro-Mich message from anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org


This is an UPDATE on the DNR Budget mandate on timber marking, AND at the end
a request for ACTION!

The Senate appropriations Subcommittee on Natural Resources and Environmental
Affairs took up the DNR Budget (HB 5591) today, although will not vote until
at least next week.  The mandated level of timber marking again was a fairly
hot topic, with Senator Alma Wheeler Smith weighing in very articulately and
forcefully on the side of removing the mandated timber marking levels, and
Senator Donal Koivisto taking on the side of keeping the mandate.

The Michigan Association of Timbermen (MAT) spoke to remove the amendment
added to the bill on the floor of the House, which would require that marking
of trees only occur on those State Forests with long range management plans,
but to keep the mandated timber marking. 

MUCC spoke in favor of removing the amendment from the House Floor as well,
but while advocating that the full range of uses of the forest be kept in
mind, did not object to the mandated floor.  

Senator Koivisto spent a great deal of time in questions and comments putting
forth a very distorted set of rationals for the mandated marking level. One
thing that keeps coming up from the timber industry and then from legislators
who have obviously bought their line on this is that the reason to put this
mandate in the budget bill is that the DNR might simply start cutting a lot
less timber if the legislature doesn't require them to cut a certain amount.
This is then tied to the Forest Service alleged drop off in timber sales,
which is characterized as shutting down cutting on National Forests.  Koivisto
stated that he had never heard anyone contend that the State Forests are being
overcut (that's funny, I have!) and then pressed the MUCC representative to
say that if timber was the only objective wouldn't they be able to cut up to 2
million cords off the State Forest lands? 


The members of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural Resources and
Environmental Affairs will take this issue up again next week -- I would
expect more discussion and likely a proposal to delete the mandate entirely
from the bill.

DELETE IN ITS ENTIRETY SECTION 903 of HB 5591!! You can call the Capitol
Switchboard at 517-373-1873 and ask to be connected, or write to them at
Michigan State Senate, State Capitol, Lansing, MI  48909.  

Senator George McManus, (R-Traverse City) Chair 
Senator Harry Gast (R-St. Joseph)
Senator Philip Hoffman (R-Horton)
Senator Donald Koivisto (D-Ironwood)
Senator Alma Wheeler Smith (D-Ann Arbor)


Anne Woiwode, Sierra Club

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