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Re: E-M:/ RIVERS & DINGELL TIED 47% - 47%

Enviro-Mich message from "David Zaber" <dzaber@chorus.net>


Back in the mid-1990s, several folks at the University of Michigan got
together to focus on timber harvest on national forest lands in Michigan.
One of the problems that we identified was the failure of the Forest Service
(Hiawatha NF in the UP) to properly implement an amendment to the Forest
Plan focusing on old growth protection.  This amendment was the result of
hard-fought efforts by Sierra Club and others.  However, it appeared that
the Forest Service was being allowed to circumvent the amendment by simply
postponing its implementation.

Our group contacted newly elected Representative Lynn Rivers with our
concerns.  The first response from River's office was from a long-term Hill
staffer who wrote us off by saying this was an issue in another Rep's
district and House members simply didn't involve themselves in other
members' districts.  I wrote a note to Rep. Rivers explaining my
disappointment over that response and my hopes of continuing to work with
Ann Arbor's Michigan's newest Representative (at that time).

Well, imagine my surprise when I had a phone call message from another staff
member in Rep. Rivers' office at a marina on the edge of Minnesota's
Boundary Water's Wilderness Area.  I returned the call and the staff member
explained that Lynn did not authorize the first response and indeed was
interested in an issue that involved Federal lands in Michigan, regardless
of whose Congressional district it was in. The long term staffer was working
under the unspoken rules of the government, and had taken it upon themselves
to pass off our request.  Suffice to say,  Rep. Rivers then wrote a letter
to the Chief of the Forest Service which helped to move this critical policy
process ahead.

Michigan now has more protected old growth forests on its Federal lands, in
large part due to the honest efforts of Lynn Rivers back in her first year
in office.  Environmentalists never forgot Lynn's dedication to balanced and
fair environmental programs while she was an elected official at the state
level. We could have given Lynn's ongoing efforts on behalf of the health of
Michigan's citizens, environment and the health of the nation.

It was this example of a new approach to public policy, an approach that
actually respected and responded to the public's viewpoints, that solidified
my support for Lynn Rivers.

So, while I greatly respect John Dingell's excellent work on behalf of the
Rouge River, the Great Lakes and other issues, I still see something
refreshing and new in Representative Rivers' approach to governing.  I wish
that they had redistricted away the anti-environmental yahoos Nick Smith or
Fred Upton instead of putting these two leaders in competition.  But given
the circumstances, Lynn Rivers stands out as one who can lead well into the
future on the environment, the economy and last but not least, on ethics.


Dave Zaber

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