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E-M:/ In the shadow of certification...



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Enviro-Mich message from Murphwild1@aol.com
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People in some communities and areas dominated by logging interests have
attempted to control logging by creating local ordinances. Industry is now
countering such people who, it claims, have "pastoral images (of) working
landscapes" and is pressing states for state "right-to-practice-forestry
laws". Because "state governments inherently have police powers (over local
governments) they could offer landowners varying degrees of protection from
local ordinances regulating forestry activities." Such laws would apply to
public lands - county, state, and federal - as well as private, meaning that
citizens, acting through elected representatives, would not be allowed to
enact laws protecting their own forests from industy.

        The basic outline for such a legal approach was outlined in the
August, 1998 issue of the JOURNAL OF FORESTRY. Within a couple of months,
the Wisconsin DNR Bureau of Forestry was distributing copies of that article
as plans for forums around the state on the subject of "sustainable
forestry" were being planned. It shouldn't be necessary to explain that such
a law would be a death knell for forest activism.

         Such a "rights" bill is in the
Minnesota Legislature. Here are some quotes from the bill: "Forestry
activity that is conducted according to generally accepted silviculture
practices on forest land.....shall not be prohibited or unreasonably limited
by a local government's use of it police, planning, or zoning powers"; "In
all relevant actions there shall exist an irrebuttable presumption that
forestry activity that is conducted according to generally accepted
silviculture practices is not a public or private nuisance and does not
otherwise invade or interfere with the use and enjoyment of any other land
or property."

        Industry (and state DNRs) are moving so quickly with this concept
that forest activists appear to be in the process of being taken by surprise
and by storm. As of the moment there is no such bill in the Wisconsin
Legislature (I don't know about Michigan), but one should assume that MI and
WI are watching the progress of the MN bill, and also assume that WI DNR was
distributing that article for a reason. These three states coordinate in
forestry matters and strategies. Right-to-practice-forestry laws are a
bigger threat than most people know.
        

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