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E-M:/ Timber Mandate AGAIN in DNR Budget -- WORSE than last year again

Enviro-Mich message from "Anne M. Woiwode" <anne.woiwode@prodigy.net>


Like a case of the shingles, the timber mandate is back and it will hurt 
even more this year than in the past.

This idiotic measure should not have been included in the Governor's budget 
bill -- if the motivation of the timber industry in pushing this bill for 
the past four years was to assure that the agency was being held more 
accountable, the reality is that in many ways the Forest Management 
Division is rising to that challenge.  While there is much, and will 
continue to be much, that they must do better, can even the most gung-ho 
tree whackers tell us with a straight face that this Soviet-style mandate 
will ever succeed in achieving the kinds of outcomes that they seem to want?

I have great sympathy for the members of the House Appropriations 
Subcommittee on Natural Resources who must grapple with this bill because 
with one exception they are all new to this committee, and all will be 
faced with trying to understand an issue that is extraordinarily 
complicated and would be best addressed through administrative processes 
with significant debate and public input.  Why does the timber industry 
insist on torturing the Appropriations Committee year after year with a 
totally inappropriate rider whose sole purpose seems to be to attempt to 
create a way to embarrass the DNR?

Please take time to contact the members of the House Appropriations 
Subcommittee on Natural Resources and Environmental Quality and urge them 
BUDGET BILL (HB 4259).  The list of committee members and their phone 
numbers, emails and addresses is included below, after an analysis of the 
language for the timber mandate in this year's budget.

The Governor's DNR Budget Bill, HB 4259, has been introduced with language 
in section 701 that requires the DNR Forest Management Division to 
"prescribe treatment" (decide how much logging to do) on at least a minimum 
amount of timber for harvest for the next fiscal year.  In fact the 
language has gotten increasingly convoluted, and whether by intent or 
mistake, the result is that the language in the bill for this year makes 
the situation much worse than in the past.

Here is the new language:

"Forest Resources Management
Sec. 701. Of the funds appropriated in part 1, the department shall 
prescribe appropriate treatment on 69,000 acres, plus or minus 10% at the 
current average rate of 12.5 to 13 cords per acre provided that the 
department shall take into consideration silvicultural analysis and report 
annually to the legislature on plans and efforts to address factors 
limiting management."

Major changes from the language in the FY2001 Budget include:

1) The language now being debated makes it clear the ONLY objective for 
state forest management is timber production.  In previous years, as bad as 
the language was, the legislature at least routinely asserted the 
importance of taking into account wildlife habitat needs and recreational 
demands on the ground.  Now, the agenda is clearly timber and timber alone.

2) While some flexibility has been put into the acreage language ("69,000 
acres plus or minus 10%") the mandate is still tied to production of 
12.5  to 13 cords per acre -- this is solely a timber agenda, failing to 
recognize that the forests are by NRC policy now to be "co-managed" with 
Wildlife Division, and that "management" may be burning forests, creating 
wildlife openings, or other activities that are not intended to produce 
wood products.

3) The gobbledy-gook about "silvicultural analysis and report annually to 
the legislature on plans and efforts to address factors limiting 
management" reenforces that this is a timber over everything mandate.  The 
DNR Forest Management Division has sought to analyze their lands and get a 
handle on what are realistic expectations for production of timber based on 
"factor limitations".  These limitations include things like the fact that 
700,000 acres of State Forest land actually does not grow trees, and in 
fact a lot of it never will because it is water, permanent openings, 
etc.  Other "factor limitations" are things like riparian zones that are 
required to protect water quality by prohibiting cutting, campgrounds and 
other areas where no cutting should occur, and protected sensitive 
areas.  In some instances, access to some lands prevents logging -- either 
because the land is land locked or because bridges have become 
unpassable.  With this language, however, the legislature is telling the 
agency to assure that ever more forest land can be logged in the future, 
without any caveat or recognition that many of the "factor limitations" 
relate to essential considerations for not destroying our forests, while 
others are physical limitations that are immutable (I would love to see the 
first person who gets 12.5 to 13 cords of wood per acre produced off a lake 
in a Michigan state forest!)

What's wrong with this whole idea in a nutshell:

1) No other public forest in the nation has an arbitrary MINIMUM timber 
harvest ("treatment") level in law. The reason is simple: EVERY other 
public forest in the country is managed for multiple uses, ranging from 
timber to wildlife to hiking to biodiversity protection.  Only in Michigan 
do the advocates of this budget rider, i.e. the TIMBER INDUSTRY, seem to 
think that the state forests should be nothing more than tree farms.

2) Prescribing management activities through budget bills ONLY serves the 
interest of those who fear substantive discussion and public input -- that 
is clearly the case here, where if the timber industry really wanted reform 
they would seek to create permanent laws that address the perceived 
problems, instead of engaging in this cowardly pursuit of using budget 

TAKE ACTION NOW!!! The members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on 
Natural Resources and Environmental Quality do need to know that people in 
Michigan think our state forests should be managed for more than just board 
feet of timber.  Please urge them NOW to remove entirely section 701 of HB 

House Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural Resources and Environmental 
(all snail mail addresses are P.O. Box 30014, Lansing, MI 48909-7514):

David Mead, Chairman, District 101 (Frankfort -- Lake Michigan shoreline 
from Benzie to Oceana)
1385 House Office Bldg
The office phone number is 517-373-0825
Send email to dmead@house.state.mi.us

Mark Jansen, District 72 (Kent County, Southeast of Grand Rapids)
1091 House Office Bldg
The office phone number is 517-373-0840
Send email to mjansen@house.state.mi.us

Charles LaSata, District 79 (St. Joseph -- Lake Michigan shoreline)
1098 House Office Bldg
The office phone number is 517-373-1403
Send email to clasata@house.state.mi.us

Scott Shackleton, District 107 (Sault Ste. Marie - Eastern UP and Emmet County)
1486 House Office Bldg
The office phone number is 517-373-2629
The tollfree number is: 877-SCOTT107
Send email to sshackleton@house.state.mi.us

Susan Tabor, District 71 (Eaton County, west of Lansing)
1090 House Office Bldg
The office phone number is 517-373-0853
Send email to stabor@house.state.mi.us

Rich Brown, Minority V.Chair, District 110 (Western Upper Peninsula)
1489 House Office Bldg
The office phone number is 517-373-0850
Send email to richbrown@house.state.mi.us

William Callahan, District 26 (St. Clair Shores, Macomb County)
0790 House Office Bldg
The office phone number is 517-373-0113
Send email to wcallah@house.state.mi.us

Triette Reeves, District 13 (Detroit)
0692 House Office Bldg
The office phone number is 517-373-6990
Send email to treeves@house.state.mi.us

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