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E-M:/ State Senators want National Forests given to Michigan -- and TIMBER MANDATE!

Enviro-Mich message from "Anne Woiwode" <anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org>

Sen. Concurrent Resolution 53 Wants US to Give National Forests to State
Senate Approps Subcom on Nat Resources Passes SCR 53 day after introduced

Tuesday this past week, Senate Concurrent Resolution 53 was introduced into
the Michigan State Senate, and Wednesday it was passed out of the Senate
Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural Resources (Sen. DeBeaussaert voted
NO, McManus, Gast, Hoffman and Koivisto voted YES). SCR 53 (copied below in
its entirety, with names of sponsors and cosponsors) asks the US Congress to
hand over Michigan's almost 3 million acres of National Forest lands to the
State to be run by the Michigan State DNR instead.  Similar idiotic
resolutions have circulated in other states as the Mine It, Log It and Road
It lobbies try to maximize private profits as public expense.

Proponents argue that the feds are wasting money running the national
forests (in Michigan that "waste" amounts to federal funds flowing into the
state's rural areas at a rate of about $35,000,000 per year in direct
funding of the three National Forests and PILT and other funds given
directly to counties), and claim that the state's grossly underfunded and
understaffed program, which is hidebound by a mandated timber treatment
level, would somehow improve the management.  What is most grossly apparent
is that our legislators just plain don't get it.  National Forests, and
someday, one would hope, State Forests, are about providing for everything
from timber, to tourism, to clean water, to protection of natural diversity,
etc. etc.  The blinders put on their eyes by the timber industry, which is a
smaller and smaller part of any good, diversified forest economy, seems
likely to lead these folks to throw away tens of millions of dollars of
federal funds, throw away the type of programs the national forests provide
that attract hundreds of thousands of visitors yearly, simply because the
timber folks think they ought to have free reign over our forests.

Even though this resolution is worth even less than the value of the sheet
of paper it is on when that paper is recycled properly, the problem here is
that this group of Senators seem eager to brand this state as a timber
industry dominated state that would gladly take over the national forests so
they can be handed up, timber mandate and all, on a silver platter to the
timber interests in Michgan.  SCR 53 will next go to the full Appropriations
Committee in the Senate -- your comments to Senator Gast, chairman of the
Committee, or any of the other Senators, might help change their minds.  The
whole list of Committee members is provided here, and you can find their
contact info at

APPROPRIATIONS: Senators Gast (C), Schwarz (VC), McManus, Johnson, Hoffman,
North, Gougeon, Bennett, Stille, Goschka, Smith (MVC), Koivisto, Young,
Murphy, DeBeaussaert, and Dingell

And, by the way, for those keeping score on the Timber Mandate from past
years:  The Governor's budget included the mandate language just as it
passed last year -- 63,000 acres of State Forests +/- 10% to be "treated" at
a rate averaging 12.5-13 cords per acre, and calling for an old growth
working group.  Senator McManus has modified the language to define old
growth as trees that were established before the 1880's.  Since the
DNR-convened stakeholder old growth working group is working on this now,
and is hoping to complete its work soon, this provision is clearly not
appropriate.   The DNR Budget, with Timber Mandate in place, passed the
Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural Resources, on last Wednesday
as well.  It will go to the full Appropriations committee sometime soon.

Senators McManus, Koivisto, North, Gougeon, Schwarz, Steil, Schuette and
Hoffman offered the following concurrent resolution:
Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 53.
A concurrent resolution to memorialize the Congress of the United States to
turn over the management of federal forest lands to the states through a
block grant program.
Whereas, In recent years, our country has benefited from public policy
encouraging the states to assume responsibility for tasks long handled by
the federal government. Experts in many fields have come to accept the
wisdom of utilizing state expertise and resources to deal with problems that
are best addressed locally rather than from Washington, D.C.; and
Whereas, The management of public forest lands is another area that should
be turned over to states through a program of block grants. Michigan, with
more public forests than any other state in the eastern portion of the
country, has compiled an impressive record of success in the management of
its resources.
The condition of Michigan's state forest acreage is a model for other parts
of the country; and
Whereas, There are several sound reasons why forest management would be more
efficiently and productively managed by the state instead of the federal
government. State management offers flexibility, rather than a "one size
fits all" approach; shorter lines of communication; better communication
within local regions; and generally lower overall costs. State control over
forest operations in Michigan will more accurately reflect our citizensí
historic sense of commitment and investment in this vitally important
resource; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), That we
memorialize the Congress of the United States to turn over the management of
federal forest lands to the states through a block grant program; and be it
Resolved, That copies of this resolution be transmitted to the President of
the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of
Representatives, and the members of the Michigan congressional delegation.
Pending the order that, under rule 3.204, the concurrent resolution be
referred to the Committee on Government Operations,
Senator Emmons moved that the rule be suspended.
The motion prevailed, a majority of the members serving voting therefor.
The question being on the adoption of the concurrent resolution,
Senator Emmons moved that the concurrent resolution be referred to the
Committee on Appropriations.
The motion prevailed.
Senators Goschka, Stille and Young were named co-sponsors of the concurrent

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
visit the Mackinac Chapter on the web at http:\\michigan.sierraclub.org

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