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E-M:/ North Woods Call editorial on Timber Mandate

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

 While more than a few times Sierra Club has found itself in disagreement 
 with Glen Sheppard, the writer/editor/producer/ etc. of the North Woods 
 Call newspaper, his editorial on the timber mandate in the June 14 issue 
 hit the nail on the head.  Since it isn't on the web yet, here is the 
 editorial in its entirety (same issue has articles about the state forest 
 old growth request to the NRC and possible litigation over the NRC's 
 flawed decisions on deer baiting and feeding):
 Forests: Loggers "buy" 69,000 acres
 Ponder this: Since 1988 the Michigan's legislature and governor have 
 turned zero (as in no) acres of state land over to nature.
 A few days ago they turned 69,000 acres of state forest over to the timber 
 industry.  In the last three years they have turned nearly 200,000 acres 
 over to the timber industry.
 No acres have been designated natural or wilderness areas since Governor 
 Blanchard disemboweled the DNR's wilderness and natural areas program.  
 The GOP legislature and governor have had ten years to pump plasma back 
 into the program.
 Not a peep from them.
 But, whoa, it isn't that they've been ignoring oru nearly four million 
 acres of state forest.  Heck no.  They've been handing massive swaths of 
 it to the timber industry.
 For each of the past few years, timber industry political contributions 
 have "bought" about 60,000 acres annually.  This year they upped the ante 
 to 69,000 acres.
 Here's how it works.  The industry pours big bucks into political 
 campaigns.  Like all of their ilk, next they tighten the screws on 
 legislators, who respond to the vote-buying dollares, and to hell with the 
 public interest.
 The 69,000-acre timber mandate will not erase the state forests.  They 
 will still be there.  Some, or most, of the trees will be replaced.  (To 
 be logged when the industry, again, twists the screws.)
 What is unknown is what components of that ecosystem will be lost.  How 
 many fewer species of birds, plants, insects, reptiles and mammals will it 
 nourish?  What water resources will be degraded?  This will never be 
 It isn't like legislators don't understand this concern.  They simply 
 opted to ignore it.
 Speaker after speaker told them the DNR lacks the manpower to 
 professionally review and nurture all segments of the resource.  These 
 speakers even included former DNR director and state forester Mike Moore 
 and just retired forestry division chief John Robertson.
 In dismissing the warnings of people like Moore, legislators scrubbed the 
 overwhelming voter mandate that wildlife resources be scientifically 
 Bottom line is the legislature turned control of public land over to their 
 political contributors.  
 Weren't there any good guys in all this?  Sure, but only two stood out, 
 according to Sierra Club's Anne Woiwode: Sen. Gary Peters, of Oakland 
 County, and Sen. Ken Debeaussaert, of Macomb County.
 In November, remember the rest of the lot was unwilling to stand up and be 
 counted in your and nature's interest.
 The North Woods Call, June 14, 2000, Volume 47, No. 15
 (If you want to write to the North Woods Call, the address is 00509 Turkey 
 Run, Charlevoix, MI 49720 -- a year subscription is $25)

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