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Re: E-M:/ Timber tactic debate



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Enviro-Mich message from Billy Stern <billysun@chorus.net>
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Thank you Nancy!

Your answer provides most of what I'm looking for.  I wasn't asking 
for a catalogue of all activities of the chapter, I just wanted to be 
clear on the chapter's historical level of litigation.  Still, your 
notes on other Chapter activities are welcome.

I am very aware of the need to be part of the NEPA process with 
comments and questions, and to play out all other legal options 
(generally though the appeal process provided by NFMA) before 
litigating.  Of course they are important, and indeed, some issues 
can be resolved in the appeal process.

I've hear about the Wayne (although I'm checking the details) and you 
are correct that litigation needs to proceed carefully.  However, in 
the last 10 years of so, while I've had my ear to the ground on 
National Forest litigation national, there have also been numerous 
precedents set, and whole forests and even whole state closed to all 
timber cutting - some just for short times, others for a number of 
years.  The number of positive precedents set through the work of 
groups like the Southwest Center for Biodiversity, WILDLaw, Heartwood 
and others appear to far outweigh the few additional roadblocks that 
have been set by negative precedents.

You are correct that litigation needs to chosen carefully and is not 
right in all cases.  I do still suggest however, that lawsuits are 
potentially an under-used tool in this region-- and I expect they may 
have to be considered more strongly with the new administration, 
which is pushing a top down agenda in many regions.  This attitude 
could end up making good relations with the agencies less useful 
asset.  I'd just ask that you keep that in mind as the issues play 
out in the future.

Kindly,
Billy Stern



At 2:24 AM -0500 3/7/02, Nancy Shiffler wrote:
><x-flowed>Billy,
>
>I don't know if I can catalogue everything our chapter has done on forestry
>issues, but our efforts have included passage of the Michigan Wilderness
>bill in the early 1980's; successful appeals of the Huron-Manistee and
>Hiawatha National Forest plans in the mid-80s; active involvement the
>planning processes for implementation of the forest plans; numerous comments
>on individual timber sales and management plans; many negotiating sessions
>with both the state DNR and the forest service regarding implementation of
>plans, public input, and questionable administrative practices; the Aspen
>lawsuit you mentioned; the lawsuit regarding adequate environmental
>assessments for use of Pittman-Robertson funds from the Fish and Wildlife
>Service.
>
>Litigation can be expensive and has the potential to backfire (e.g. the Ohio
>Chapter's lawsuit in the Wayne National Forest set precendents making it
>harder to bring suits in other forests).  Consequently, we choose our
>litigation carefully, making sure we play out administrative procedures
>first.
>
>People don't always agree on tactics and strategies, and that's healthy;
>we've had a long history of debates on this.  We would just rather be
>spending our time on getting the job done.
>
>Nancy Shiffler
>Forest Subcommitte Chair and Litigation Chair, Mackinac Chapter
>
>
>>From: Billy Stern <billysun@chorus.net>
>>Reply-To: Billy Stern <billysun@chorus.net>
>>To: enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
>>Subject: E-M:/ Timber tactic debate
>>Date: Wed, 6 Mar 2002 12:04:51 -0600
>>
>>-------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>Enviro-Mich message from Billy Stern <billysun@chorus.net>
>>-------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>
>>>Billy,
>>>I've been to north Wisconsin, I'd say we both have lots of problems in our
>>>forests.  Lawsuits are not the only way to get things done.
>>>
>>>No I will not list the lawsuits.  I will instead focus on changing the way
>>>our forest are managed, as opposed to change the way you or other do their
>>>work on the environment, I'll leave that up to you or Murray.
>>>
>>>I just hope you are doing more than publicly criticizing other activist!
>>>
>>>Tim
>>
>>Tim,
>>
>>I do a hell of a lot more than "publicly criticizing other activist"
>>(sic), and honestly resent that accusation.  I raised a valid
>>question, in a polite, albeit poignant way.  If you took my pointing
>>out numerical facts and raising a valid question as a criticism, you
>>either have a very thin skin, or my points hit an exposed nerve due
>>to some truth in them.
>>
>>There is no denying that there have been similar issues in Wisconsin,
>>but in my two years in the state, I have become involved in (among
>>other issues) commenting on and preparing a response to five large
>>sales in the state, and in the forest planning process.  You can
>>attempt to dismiss me by somehow lumping me in with Murrey, but in
>>actually, I have very little contact with him, and have worked on the
>>forest issues largely with the Club here.
>>
>>In your answer to Murrey, you stated, " We actually attend
>>>>>   meetings, write comments, appeal management actions, and go to court
>>>>>to
>>>>>   implement our strategy to recover and protect Michigan's ecological
>>>>>   diversity."
>>
>>While I applaud the recent Aspen suit, I still hope that someone in
>>the chapter would take a few minutes and answer my valid question
>>about what other lawsuits the Mackinaw Chapter had pursued in the
>>recent past.
>>
>>Indeed, lawsuits are not the only way to get things done, but on the
>>other hand they have proved extremely effective in many regions
>>across the country.  When used carefully, they can even build
>>coalitions and public support generally.
>>
>>Unfortunately,  since I've been in the Midwest, I've found some
>>people in the state extremely defensive of what I see as relatively
>>ineffective tactics in protecting our National Forests.  Time and
>>again, they seem to what to squash debate over additional new tactics.
>>
>>I do applaud the various efforts that the Mackinaw Chapter and its
>>various individuals have pursued in forest protection, but the
>>question I put on the table, is, "Why has the Mackinaw Chapter used
>>lawsuits so sparingly?"   I believe that that is a valid point of
>>debate, and should be addressed seriously and openly, and not decided
>>by just a few people in the Chapter.
>>
>>Respectfully,
>>Billy Stern
>>John Muir Chapter Ex-com and Forest Committee member.
>>
>>
>>
>>>
>>>>
>>>>-------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>   Enviro-Mich message from Billy Stern <billysun@chorus.net>
>>>>
>>>>-------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>
>>>>   Hi Tim,
>>>>
>>>>   As someone relatively new to the region, I'm wondering if you (or
>>>>   anyone) could list the actual lawsuits that Mackinaw Chapter has been
>>>>   involved in that focus on USFS/NF management, for say the last 10-15
>>>>   years.
>>>>
>>>>   "No commercial logging" aside, Murrey is not the only person I've
>>>>   hear complain that the Chapters in the Great Lakes have done
>>>>   relatively little to slow logging on National Forest over the past 10
>>>>   years compared to other Chapters (and local groups) around the
>>>>   country.
>>>>
>>>>   The shear numbers do seem to show that the region is still a relative
>>>>   timber and pulp basket compared to other parts of the country where
>>>>   activists have taken a stronger stance.  Of course, with the relative
>>>>   flatness of the region and somewhat few endangered species, there may
>>>>   have been fewer legal handles, but most of the suits in other parts
>>>>   of the country are successful on NEPA  and other technical issues.
>>>>   Your thoughts on that are welcome.
>>>>
>>>>   Billy Stern
>>>>   John Muir Chapter Ex-com and Forest Committee member.
>>>>
>>>>   At 7:58 PM -0500 3/5/02, Tim wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>>-------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>   Enviro-Mich message from Tim <timf@mac.com>
>>>>>
>>>>>-------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>
>>>>>>    Why does the Mackinaw Chapter of SC continue to advocate for
>>>>>>logging in our
>>>>>>    national forests when the official Sierra Club policy is to END
>>>>>>COMMERCIAL
>>>>>>    LOGGING?
>>>>>   Murray,
>>>>>
>>>>>   Three points:
>>>>>
>>>>>   One, the policy you refer to allows members of the Sierra Club to work
>>>>>   towards a bill in Congress to band commercial logging.  It doesn't
>>>>>force
>>>>>   Chapters or activists to work on that legislation.  It allows Chapters
>>>>>to
>>>>>   improve land management and stop bad practices on Federal lands as
>>>>>they see
>>>>>   fit.  In fact in the debate to pass the policy, it was sold to folks
>>>>>that
>>>>>   way.  SC policy allows Chapters to set their own priorities, within
>>>>>the
>>>>>   framework of all our policies viewed as a whole.
>>>>>
>>>>>   Two, the Mackinac Chapter works are hard as anyone to make positive
>>>>>   improvements in the management of our public lands.  We actually
>>>>>attend
>>>>>   meetings, write comments, appeal management actions, and go to court
>>>>>to
>>>>>   implement our strategy to recover and protect Michigan's ecological
>>>>>   diversity.  We do so on State and Federal public lands in Michigan.
>>>>>Those
>>>>>   are the priorities we have selected, and they are making a difference.
>>>>>
>>>>>   Third, *no commercial logging* is not the only clear vision one can
>>>>>   advocate.  The SC in Michigan has followed a clear vision, and
>>>>>presented it
>>>>>   at many meetings and in comments to all Michigan's National Forest and
>>>>>All
>>>>>   State forest land.
>>>>>
>>>>>   I for one am proud of the Club's work in Michigan over the last
>>>>>two decades,
>>>>>   beginning with our involvement in the first National Forest plans.
>>>>>
>>>>>   Our priorities may not be the same as yours, that OK with me,
>>>>>hopefully
>>>>>   we're all doing what we feel is best for the land.  I think a
>>>>>diverse set of
>>>>>   tactics will get us to where we want to go, faster than only one
>>>>>tactic.
>>>>>
>>>>>   Good luck with your work, hope you'll wish me and others working with
>>>>>the
>>>>>   Mackinac Chapter the same.
>>>>>
>>>>>   Tim Flynn
>>>>>   Sierra Club, Mackinac chapter volunteer
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
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