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E-M:/ To: Michigan Forest Advocates



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Enviro-Mich message from "Joshua Martin" <joshua@americanlands.org>
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To:  Michigan Forest Advocates
From:  Joshua Martin, American Lands, Midwest

As has been mentioned on this listserve, Michigan's national forests are
beginning the plan revision process, and are threatened by the proposed
rollbacks of forest protection law by the Bush Administration.  The changes
in forest planning are just one example of the Administration's many changes
that will affect the Ottawa, Hiawatha, and Huron-Manistee National Forests.
Please consider signing you or your organization on to this national
grassroots letter, and thank you.

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To:	All Activists
From:	Max Wilson
Date:	3 January 2003

Sign On Letter to Oppose Bush Rollbacks

We would like to thank all those who have signed onto the letter to Congress
opposing Bushs rollbacks of environmental law.  We are extending the
deadline
to sign on until 13 January to allow more groups to sign on.  Please
consider
lending your support or the support of your group. It is important that we
send
a strong message to national decision makers about these sweeping rollbacks.
Feel free to circulate the letter to other groups you believe may be
interested
in signing on.

Please send an email to Max Wilson, mailto:maxwilson@americanlands.org to
sign
on your organization.

The letter can be viewed online at:
http://www.americanlands.org/fire_sign_on_letter5.htm
____________________________________________

January 7, 2003

The undersigned conservation organizations are dedicated to protecting our
nation's forest heritage and fully support an effective program to protect
communities from the risks associated with forest fires.  We are concerned
that the Forest Service is failing to focus resources where projects are
most needed and is instead choosing activities that will not effectively
reduce fire risks for communities.  The result is often misguided post-fire
salvage logging and thinning projects far from communities, which threaten
the environment with no benefit for community protection.  There is no
conclusive evidence that these types of projects reduce wildfire risk.  In
these cases, it appears that commodity production is being put ahead of real
community protection.

Our concerns about the poor implementation of the fire program and the lack
of Forest Service accountability are multiplied by the President's Healthy
Forests Initiative.  The administration proposes to weaken public
involvement by gutting requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act
(NEPA), curtailing accountability and citizen oversight, and creating a
powerful new economic incentive with goods for-services stewardship
contracting that will encourage large-scale logging and put the agency above
public scrutiny.  The Forest Service has recently issued proposed rules to
implement portions of the Healthy Forests Initiative administratively.

These actions are of even greater concern when considered alongside the
Administration's proposed forest planning regulations, directives weakening
the protection of roadless areas and endangered salmon, and initiatives now
underway to undermine environmental protections in both the Northwest Forest
Plan and the Sierra Nevada Framework.  The Healthy Forests Initiative, when
combined with these initiatives, amounts to a blank check for uncontrolled
logging on our National Forests with little or no meaningful public
participation in management decisions.

We urge Congress to prevent lawless logging, to require that the Forest
Service remain accountable and to ensure that the public can effectively
participate in how public lands are managed.  When the 108th Congress begins
debate on the fire issue, we urge you to support the following principles:

1.  Support community protection as the priority of the fuel reduction
program.  This requires focusing fuels projects in the Community Protection
Zone, which is within 1/4 mile of communities.  Government research has
found this is the only proven method to protect homes and communities.
Please support directing a minimum of 75% of the fuels budget to private,
state and tribal lands where the vast majority of the lands within the
community protection zone exist.

2.  Support public participation and environmental standards.  We urge you
to oppose efforts to undermine the nation's environmental laws, weaken the
public's right to participate and appeal, and limit judicial review.  Please
(oppose legislation such as the Craig fire amendment to the Interior
appropriations bill) (oppose fire legislation such as that introduced last
session by Reps. Scott McInnis (H.R. 5319) or Larry Combest (H.R. 5376.))
and oppose the administration's proposals to change the National Forest
Management Act planning regulations, the comment and appeal process, and the
list of categorical exclusions.

3.  Support the conservation of all roadless areas, and old growth and
mature forests.  These forests are cherished by the American people, and the
overwhelming majority of the general public and the scientific community is
calling for their immediate protection.  Moreover, a federal court recently
rejected arguments that the Rule is illegal.  Despite this consensus,
roadless areas remain threatened by Bush Administration plans to roll back
the conservation rule.  Please ensure that roadless areas, old growth and
mature forests are protected from logging and road construction in all fire
related legislation.  An important part of this is to cosponsor the Roadless
Area Conservation Act of 2002, (H.R. 4865 or S. 2790 in the 107th Congress)
which will be reintroduced this year.

4.  Oppose new incentives for logging such as goods-for-services stewardship
contracting.  Please oppose permanently authorizing this program or any
additional goods-for-services, designation by description, or receipt
retention pilot projects.  These authorities allow the Forest Service to
give away unlimited amounts of large fire resistant trees to logging
companies without budget accountability.  If made permanent, this system
would let the Forest Service treat National Forests as their own private
piggy bank and would encourage more logging just to feed agency coffers.

5.  Oppose the inclusion of salvage logging in the fuel reduction program.
Salvage logging does not reduce fire risks and it has been shown to cause
serious environmental damage to soils, water quality, fish and wildlife.
Salvage projects are the most serious environmental abuse of the fire
program to date and are a strong indicator that the Forest Service is
putting commodity production ahead of community protection.

Enclosed are some additional materials on the fire issue that we hope you
find useful.  Included are the conservation communities' Community
Protection Plan, the environmental impacts of salvage logging, and
information on the President's Healthy Forests Initiative, forest planning
regulations and other proposed environmental rollbacks.

We look forward to working with you as these issues are discussed in 2003.

Sincerely,



American Lands Alliance




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