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E-M:/ ALERT: Timber Mandate INCREASE Proposed!



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Enviro-Mich message from anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org
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 ALERT -- ALERT -- ALERT -- ALERT -- ALERT -- ALERT
 
 PLEASE CALL THIS AFTERNOON!
 
 DNR BUDGET BILL TIMBER MANDATE ABOUT TO GET WORSE
 
 At a hearing scheduled at 3 PM TODAY in the House Approps Subcommittee on 
 Natural Resources and Environmental Quality, it is expected to consider 
 and vote on a proposal that the MANDATED MINIMUM NUMBER OF ACRES FOR 
 TIMBER PRODUCTION OFF STATE FOREST LANDS WILL BE INCREASED TO THE MAXIMUM 
 POSSIBLE NUMBER OF ACRES THE DNR BELIEVES COULD BE MANAGED EACH YEAR 
 without causing direct and irreparable harm to our State Forests.  Sorry 
 for very late notice, but we just learned this morning that the meeting 
 was scheduled this afternoon.
 
 This proposed increase appears to be due to the confusion about the issue 
 fostered by information presented to the committee, particularly by the 
 DNR.  Evidently the Committee members want to nail down more about how 
 much the DNR believes it can manage on an annual basis, and may be using 
 this as a way to get to the issue. Unfortunately, as is always the extreme 
 danger in using a budget bill to mandate policy actions, there has been 
 totally inadequate time to even begin to explain this issue to the 
 Subcommittee. RIGHT NOW, however it appears this proposed resolution may 
 make things even WORSE for the forests, for wildlife and for recreational 
 users!
 
 Why?  For three years there has been a mandate that the DNR have MARKED 
 for logging at least 855,000 cords -- but the mandate did not require that 
 the DNR CUT all of those cords every year.  In other words, if the timber 
 didn't sell the DNR didn't have to go out and cut it down anyway.  Even 
 so, the DNR staff have viewed this as a mandate they must meet, and have 
 been at least putting the wood into the pipeline for timber sales.  While 
 all the timber has not been sold because the timber industry has not been 
 willing to buy what DNR put up, the fact is they have come very close to 
 or have hit the actual mandated MARKING level in the last few years.  
 
 In an attempt to improve the situation this year, the Administration 
 actually included language that called for either a volume mandate OR a 
 mandated number of acres of land to be "treated" (logged).  The treated 
 acres # in the Admin budget is 60,000, about what the DNR has been aiming 
 to do for a number of years, and an amount that they have come close to 
 meeting during the last few years.  More of the acres of timber sales sold 
 in recent years were thinning or selection cuts vs clearcuts.  Selection 
 cutting produces about 1/2 or less of the volume of clearcutting, but 
 creates more jobs and much higher value timber products than clearcutting 
 does, so actually benefits the economy more per acre than clearcutting 
 does. 
 
 HOWEVER, what is expected to be proposed by the Subcommittee this 
 afternoon is a MANDATE to do EITHER AT LEAST the 855,000 cords OR AT LEAST 
 69,000 TREATED ACRES.  69,000 acres is what the DNR has said is the 
 MAXIMUM POSSIBLE NUMBER OF ACRES THEY COULD DO WITHOUT HARMING THE 
 RESOURCE, based on their rather inadequate ecological and other 
 information.  
 
 What does this mean?  Unlike the 855,000 cords which requires that it 
 simple be marked for cutting, the 69,000 acres mandate actually will 
 require completion of logging or other "treatments" on these lands.  That 
 means the DNR would have a supposed "choice" (somewhat akin to getting to 
 choose whether you get shot or hung when you are executed)-- the choice 
 would be to mark for logging AT LEAST the MAXIMUM amount of volume to be 
 cut that it believes can be taken off its lands without causing harm, OR 
 to actually TREAT the MAXIMUM amount of acres the DNR believes can be 
 treated without causing harm to the resource.   
 
 This is natural resource insanity -- NONE of the timber companies arguing 
 for this mandate would dare to manage their own lands with such an 
 arbitrary and detrimental goal, and only one other public forest in the 
 country does this -- the Tongas National Forest in Alaska where powerful 
 members of Congress have forced mandates to lard the coffers of their 
 timber industry friends.  AND the DNR is SUPPOSED to manage for wildlife, 
 recreation, water quality, and protection of rare species, in addition to 
 whacking wood for the timber industry to pulp up and sell so their out of 
 state or even out of country owners can make a profit.  
 
 PLEASE TAKE TIME NOW to CALL THESE SUBCOMMITTEE MEMBERS AND ASK THEM TO 
 STOP DOING THE BIDDING OF THE TIMBER INDUSTRY AND ASSURE THAT OUR PUBLIC 
 STATE FORESTS ARE MANAGED FOR THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE NOT THE PROFITS OF 
 OUT OF STATE TIMBER CORPORATIONS!
 
 Chairman William Byl           517-373-2668 or toll-free: 800-380-4BYL
 David Mead                     517-373-0825
 Cameron Brown                  517-373-0832
 Sandra Caul                    517-373-1789
 Paul Tesanovich                517-373-0850  or toll free 800-PAUL-110
 Deb Cherry                     517-373-3906


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