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E-M:/ Timber Mandate on Senate Floor

Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <ajs@sagady.com>

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Date: Tue, 23 May 2000 16:11:39 -0700
To: <enviro-mich@great-lakes.net>
Subject: Timber Mandate lives on on Senate floor
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  Amendment to Remove Mandate Dies on Voice Vote --

  ASK YOUR SENATOR HOW HE/SHE VOTED, and let us know!!

  By a Voice Vote, the 38 members of the Michigan Senate blocked an
  amendment offered by Senator Gary Peters and supported by Senator Ken
  DeBeaussaert to remove the DNR Budget language mandating an unsustainable
  level of timber harvest off Michigan's State Forests.  The vote, taken on
  General Orders, is the second to last stop in the Senate before final
  passage (third reading), however it is unclear whether any additional
  opportunities for a vote will be offered on third reading.  A second
  amendment, offered by Senator Alma Wheeler Smith, modified the language
  slightly (switched location of sentences) to clarify that impact on
  wildlife habitat and recreation need to be considered by the DNR.  That
  amendment passed.

  Senator Peters presented his amendment to entirely strike the boilerplate
  language on the timber mandate.  He argued that the Senate has previously
  said that the DNR should be using the best science in managing resources and
  that this timber mandate works against best science.

  Senator George McManus called for turning the amendment down, effectively
  saying this shouldn't even be discussed.  He claimed, as his letters have
  previously stated, that the source of the acreage figures was the DNR, and
  claimed this mandate was "reasonable" and would give the DNR some
  flexibility.  He said there should be a balance between the sale of timber
  off state lands and private lands and that this mandate was reasonable and
  necessary to do.

  Senator Don Koivisto noted that the issue has been discussed for a number
  of years, and suggested it was discussed and resolved in the House.  He
  said the mandate sets "targets" for the DNR, simply putting the timber up
  for bids not requiring it be cut.  Then he asserted that the National
  Forests are not selling wood, or are moving toward no logging, and began
  to talk about the fire in Los Alamos, NM.  He said money from timber sales
  goes to fire prevention statewide, and if they can't sell timber, they
  might have problems paying for fire fighting.  Koivisto claims that the
  only ones who opposed the mandate are the environmental groups who oppose
  harvest of timber on National Forest lands, and in effect he said it is
  because of them the fires in Los Alamos occurred. He also said that for
  each tree cut, three more are planted, and said this is a good policy.

  Senator DeBeaussaert rose to counter the arguments presented by McManus
  and Koivisto.  He noted that in committee they had received a large amount
  of testimony opposing the mandate, including from foresters.  He said that
  each year the boilerplate language gets more specific, and as was pointed
  out in committee by one person who testified there is just as much chance
  that a future legislature can move the mandated cut to zero.  He suggested
  the legislature should not be in the business of micromanaging the DNR,
  and strongly urged that this issue be finally resolved within the next

  By voice vote, the "no"s edged out the "yea"s, however there were clearly
  a substantial number of yeas.  Because a voice vote does not tell how an
  individual legislator voted, those who have contacted your Senator asking
  him/her to oppose this mandate are well within reason calling to ask how
  he or she voted. Because the tally of a voice vote is a judgment call, it
  would be interesting to compile the full list of how the Senators voted
  (some were excused so would not have voted at all) to see what it actually
  was.  Chances are, because the vote wasn't recorded, if you speak to an
  aid in the Senator's office you will be told they don't know, but if the
  aid puts a simple question to the Senator with a call back to you, that
  will allow you to find out!  Perhaps we can get a running tally here on
  Enviro-Mich and find out who voted how!

  Third reading on this bill could happen any time this week, possibly as
  soon as tomorrow.

  Anne Woiwode
  Sierra Club

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