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E-M:/ ALERT: Timber Mandate Comes Back



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

TIMBER MARKING MANDATE IN DNR BUDGET AGAIN!!!

CONTACT YOUR STATE SENATOR AND STATE SENATE DNR APPROPRIATIONS 
SUBCOMMITTEE TODAY (see Senate Approps Subcom members at end)!!

HEARING WEDNESDAY A.M. ON DNR BUDGET/TIMBER MARKING MANDATE

For the THIRD YEAR IN A ROW an effort has been launched to MANDATE 
that Michigan's State Forests establish a FLOOR for marking trees for
logging.  In the last two years the effort came in amendments from 
the timber industry, this year the language is in the bill as it was
introduced by the Engler Administration.  We fully expect that there will
be an attempt made to not only keep the mandate, but to arbitrarily 
increase it again!

WHAT'S WRONG WITH MANDATED TIMBER MARKING ON MICHIGAN'S STATE FORESTS?

LOTS!!!

Here are just some of the ECONOMIC reasons this is a bad idea:

1) THE WOOD MARKED ALREADY ISN'T SELLING.  DNR has not been able to sell all
the wood marked under the mandate the last two years.  Timber marking costs
money, and after a few years trees will need to be marked again, at additional
expense if they are not sold.

2) THE EFFECT OF EARLY RETIREMENT IS OVER.  The original reason given by 
the timber industry for the mandated marking levels was that the Forest 
Management Division staff was significantly reduced because of early
retirements.  That was in 1997 -- it no longer applies.

3) A CONTRACTOR FROM WISCONSIN HAS BEEN HIRED TO MEET THE MANDATED MINIMUM.
In a sickening irony, when DNR lost staff to early retirement, a numbers game
started so that the administration could claim fewer state level employees,
while hiring contractors to do the same work.  To really rub salt in the
wounds, the contractor hired by the MICHIGAN DNR is out of WISCONSIN -- DNR
guys were forced into early retirement so we could hire a contractor from
WISCONSIN to mark MICHIGAN STATE FORESTS.  DNR Foresters are forced to
become contract administrators, instead of doing their jobs, so unmarketable
wood can be marked by a contracting firm out of Wisconsin!!! Not only does the
mandate cost us money because the wood isn't selling, it is sending our money
out of state to contractors from Wisconsin!

4) UNFAIR COMPETITION AGAINST PRIVATE WOODLANDS OWNERS. When demand for wood
is dropping, and the biggest woodland owner in the state floods the market
with wood, it hurts the little guys who can't compete against the public
owners.

AND NOW THE REASONS THAT MATTER FROM AN ENVIRONMENTAL STANDPOINT:

5) THE TIMBER MANDATE SAYS MICHIGAN'S LEGISLATURE VIEWS THESE FORESTS AS
BELONGING ONLY TO THE TIMBER INDUSTRY.  Hunters, anglers, skiers, hikers,
campers, mushroom and berry pickers, mountain bikers, snowmobilers, etc.,
etc., etc. depend on our State Forests for their activities.  Once again, the
message is loud and clear -- the TIMBER INDUSTRY is the only constituency that
matters to the Legislature, or this year, evidently, to the administration.

6) THE MANDATE VIOLATES THE INTENT OF PROPOSAL G, passed by Michigan voters,
that said that the DNR should be given authority to manage wildlife based on
sound science.  Michigan State Forests are comanaged by DNR Wildlife Division
and Forest Management Division.  A MANDATED FLOOR FOR TIMBER MARKING takes
away the agency's control over its own lands.

7) STATE FORESTS STILL LACK FOREST PLANS. How much you cut matters less than
where you cut -- if you don't have a Plan, you can cut a little wood and cause
disastrous outcomes, or cut way too much because you didn't know what effect
it would have.  Only two of Michigan's six State Forests have Forest Plans,
and those plans never looked at the total volume of wood that should be cut.

8) THE EFFECT OF INCREASED TIMBER CUTTING ON MICHIGAN STATE FORESTS IS
UNKNOWN. In fact, the effect of just keeping up the amount of timber cutting
already occurring on Michigan's State Forests is unknown because the same
legislature and administration have failed to adequately fund baseline
information collection crtical for understanding how best to manage our
forests for all the things we expect from them.  While DNR has made do with
their woefully inadequate funds, the fact is they often don't know where the
sensitive wildlife, plants and ecosystems are found because they have never
had the staff to do on the ground surveys prior to current timber marking
activities.  The timber mandate aggravates this problem by speeding up the
amount of timber available for cutting, while doing nothing to get the basic
ecological tools to know whether this is sustainable.


WHAT YOU CAN AND SHOULD DO!!!

CONTACT THE SENATE APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE ON DNR AND ASK THEM TO REMOVE
THE TIMBER MARKING MANDATE ENTIRELY FROM THE DNR BUDGET!!!

DNR Appropriations Subcommittee members and their phone numbers (in Lansing):

Senator George McManus (R-Traverse City) (517) 373-1725
Chairman

Senator Harry Gast (R-St. Joseph)        (517) 373-6960

Senator Phil Hoffman (R- Horton)         (517) 373-2426

Senator Ken DeBeaussaert (D-Mt. Clemens) (517) 373-7315

Senator Don Koivisto (D-Ironwood)        (517) 373-7840




PLEASE DON'T DELAY -- YOUR VOICE IS NEEDED RIGHT NOW!!




posted by Anne Woiwode, Sierra Club Michigan Forest Biodiversity Program



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