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E-M:/ Fwd: [northwoodsalert] Rolling Thunder Victory!

Enviro-Mich message from Billy Stern <billysun@chorus.net>

To: <northwoodsalert@yahoogroups.com>
From: "Scott" <scott@northwoodswild.org>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2003 11:18:20 -0500
Subject: [northwoodsalert] Rolling Thunder Victory!
Reply-To: northwoodsalert-owner@yahoogroups.com

Northwoods Wilderness Recovery has achieved an important legal 
victory for the Ottawa National Forest. The proposed Rolling Thunder 
timber sale, approximately 4,800 acres in size, is located just west 
of Watersmeet MI and adjacent to the Sylvania Wilderness area. It 
presents an important example of the Forest Service abusing the lands 
they are charged with protecting.

Based on the fact that the Ottawa national Forest has defied their 
own Management Plan through over cutting hardwoods by 70%, NWR 
launched a lawsuit against the Forest Service in 2000 to stop the 
sale. This legal effort initially failed, as U.S. District Judge 
David McKeague ruled in favor of the Forest Service. He claimed that 
logging sugar maples, the dominant hardwood species throughout this 
site, did not count towards the limit on hardwood extraction imposed 
by the Management Plan. This created a dangerous loophole which 
logging interests have exploited to the detriment of this unique 
forest. Ten percent of the Rolling Thunder timber sale area has 
already been logged under this misguided decision.

Northwoods Wilderness Recovery refused to give up, well understanding 
the serious threat this loophole could pose to the forest's future 
health. Through our attorney Leigh Haynie, NWR tenaciously argued 
that the sale contradicts established management guidelines. On March 
21 2003, the Sixth Circuit court of Appeals overturned the earlier 
federal court decision. 
<http://www.northwoodswild.org/rollingthunder.pdf>Click here to see 
the decision.

Winning this appeal is quite significant. In an immediate sense, it 
will prevent an ecologically sensitive area adjacent to a Designated 
Wilderness Area from further damage. It will close the sugar maple 
loophole, protecting some of the most interesting hardwood stands in 
the Upper Great Lakes region from indiscriminate logging.

In a broader sense, too, this is a major victory in the struggle to 
hold the Forest Service accountable to its own management guidelines. 
In a time when federal lands are increasingly exploited without full 
public disclosure or adherence to established environmental 
protections, this is quite important. Only through the kind of 
vigilance and tenacity displayed in the Rolling Thunder case will our 
public lands truly be managed according to the wishes of the people 
rather than corporate interests.

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