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E-M:/ SIERRA CLUB LAWSUIT SEEKS TO BLOCK FOREST SERVICE ASPEN SALES IN MI,WI and MN



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Enviro-Mich message from "Anne Woiwode" <anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org>
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News from
Michigan Sierra Club
109 East Grand River, Lansing, MI 48906 Phone (517) 484-2372 Fax (517)
484-3108


For Immediate Release: Thursday, December 5, 2001
Contact: Anne Woiwode 517-484-2372

SIERRA CLUB LAWSUIT SEEKS TO BLOCK FOREST SERVICE
 ASPEN TIMBER SALES IN MI, MN, AND WI
Effects on forests, deer population must be assessed, group says

The Sierra Club has filed a lawsuit against the US Forest Service, Eastern
Region, seeking to block the logging of aspen on the seven National Forests
in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Forest Service decisions promoting
aspen clearcutting are holding back restoration of native white pine forests
in the region and maintaining white-tailed deer numbers at levels that cause
property damage and environmental impacts, according to the Sierra Club.
The lawsuit asks the court to direct the agency to block additional aspen
timber sales on Forest Service lands until they complete a regional analysis
of environmental impacts from this management direction.

 The Ottawa Aspen Sale Lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Mackinac
(Michigan) Chapter of the Sierra Club in the US District Court - Western
District of Michigan December 4th and assigned to Judge David McKeague. The
suit springs from a single timber sale on the Ottawa National Forest, but
challenges the Forest Service management of aspen across the three state
region.  The lawsuit was filed by Leigh Haynie, an environmental attorney in
Minnesota and includes two individual plaintiffs, Marvin Roberson, Forest
Policy Specialist, and Anne Woiwode, Director, of the Sierra Club Mackinac
Chapter.

 “Forest Service timber management is drastically altering the forests of
the Upper Great Lakes from their natural condition, without consideration of
the effects on the natural environment, nor whether these changes can be
sustained,” according to Roberson. Roberson notes that aspen forests,
managed primarily through clearcutting, are being maintained at 10 times
their natural levels on Forest Service lands in the three states, despite
evidence of widespread environmental consequences.

Aspen clearcutting is preventing the reestablishment of white pine and
northern hardwoods forests that were lost during the lumber baron era at the
turn of the last century, according to Sierra Club.  In addition, over
cutting of aspen contributes to a massive overabundance of deer habitat,
contributing to 65,000 deer/car collisions per year in Michigan alone,
escalated threats of bovine tuberculosis exposure for livestock, and
extensive damage to rare plant species as well as agricultural crops.

To date the Forest Service has refused Michigan Sierra Club’s repeated
requests to initiate a region wide analysis of the environmental effects of
their aspen management activities. The federal agency has never considered
the cumulative effect of their policy of holding back forest succession on a
massive scale across the upper Great Lakes states, although other
environmental issues have received region-wide analysis.

“The Forest Service is determining the future of our region’s National
Forests by promoting excessive aspen clearcutting without considering the
tradeoffs,” said Anne Woiwode.  “These seven National Forests belong to all
of us, and the managers must be held accountable to the laws designed to
protect these lands and our nation’s interests in them.”

-end-




The National Forests affected are the Huron-Manistee, Hiawatha, and Ottawa
in Michigan, the Chequamegon and Nicolet in Wisconsin, and the Superior and
Chippewa in Minnesota.

Information about the current levels of aspen found in these states versus
presettlement levels is available at the following website:
http://www.ncrs.fs.fed.us/gla/
Pull up the website, use the drop down menu “themes” and pull up “existing
vegetation” and “historic vegetation” and you’ll find links to maps for the
region.

<<-->><<-->><<-->><<-->><<-->><<-->><<-->>
Anne Woiwode, Staff Director
Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter
109 East Grand River Avenue
Lansing, Michigan 48906
517-484-2372; fax 517-484-3108
anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org



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