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E-M:/ Timber Mandate Round 2: State Senate Subcom Tomorrow

Enviro-Mich message from "Tom & Anne Woiwode" <woiwode@voyager.net>

Timber Mandate Round 2 -- FY2001

Tomorrow afternoon the DNR Budget (HB 5281) gets its first look in the
Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural Resources.  Subcommittee
Chairman George McManus (R-Traverse City) has for the past four years
promoted the timber mandate in the DNR Budget, and there is a strong sense
he will continue to do so this year.

The bill went through some significant modifications on the floor of the
House a week and one-half ago (sorry I fell down on my reporting!). I do NOT
have the current language in front of me (trouble with our Acrobat Reader
here at home) so will miss some things -- anyone interested in the issue can
go to the <www.michiganlegislature.org> website and pull up the bill as it
passed the House.

The House passed version sticks with the language on marking vs. harvesting,
keeps both 855,000 cords or 69,000 acres, and creates a slightly more
workable reporting period for the DNR for producing their Silvacultural
Analysis.  Evidently language was eliminated that tied the funding of the
Forest Management Division directly to meeting the mandate, probably because
the funding would have to be spent in order for the mandate to be met -- if
they don't fund the agency, it can't mark the trees.  However the language
clearly directs the DNR to take certain actions, so the mandate is no less
clear.  The House entirely eliminated language introduced by Rep. Bill Byl
that would created a committee with diverse interests in the State Forests
to develop objectives for the State Forests. Evidently, floor discussion
noted that the Natural Resources Commission has convened a subcommittee to
look at virtually the same thing, and defers to their effort.

The effect of the changes made on the floor of the House, while substantial
in moving around and eliminating words, appears to be relatively minor in
terms of mitigating the mandate.  It however does NOT reintroduce mandated
cutting, just marking for cutting.  I don't know if it removed the mandate
that timber be put up for sale, potentially flooding the market.

Please contact the Subcommittee members to let them know that this mandate
is STILL UNACCEPTABLE -- stepping back from the brink of disaster is not the
same as acceptable.  This bill as written now amounts to placing timber
above all other uses of the forest, from fragile ecosystems to recreation to

Chair George McManus (R-Traverse City)    517-373-1725
Harry Gast (R-St. Joseph) (Chair of full Approps Com) 517-373-6960
     Toll Free:  [800-968-9570]
Phil Hoffman (R-Horton) 517-373-2426
Ken DeBeaussaert (D-Mt Clemens)   517-373-7315
Don Koivisto (D-Ironwood)  517-373-7840

Tom, Anne, Nate and Pete Woiwode
5088 Powell Road
Okemos, MI 48864

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