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E-M:/ Bad Forest bills pass out of House Ag & Resources Committee

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


Yesterday the House Ag and Resource Management Committee passed out,
with no amendments, all three of the "healthy forest initiative" bills
(HB 5552, 5553, and 5554) that the timber industry has crafted to take
control of Michigan's State Forests (see summaries of the bills below).
The strong impression left on this process was that the majority on the
Committee were happy to do exactly what the timber industry wanted, with
no effort to address the broad list of serious problems these bills
would pose for their own constituents.  Reportedly during the two weeks
since the first hearings on the bill, meetings had been held between
sponsors of the bills, the DNR and timber industry interests during
which many serious problems with the bills were discussed, but the bills
were shoved through the committee in a way that made it clear this was
not about substance, but was about how much power the timber industry
could wield over this group.  

On Tuesday, testimony was taken from additional industry
representatives, whose interpretations of the bills' impact was clearly
inaccurate.  MUCC provided strong testimony against all three bills. Two
of the bills sponsors, Rep. Palsrok and Rep. Casperson (who serves on
the committee) provided testimony at the committee, but again seemed to
not have registered the raft of problems raised about the bills.
Representative Kathleen Law raised some excellent questions with the
sponsors, including trying to ask if Rep. Palsrok had followed through
with his promise to meet with Michigan Environmental Council and the
Sierra Club (the promise showed up in an article from the Capitol News
Service), but she wasn't able to raise the issue until Palsrok had left
(the answer is no-- Sierra Club has heard nothing from Rep. Palsrok's
office).  Rep. Joseph Rivet registered the opposition of the Democratic
members of the committee to the manner in which the bills were being
rushed through the committee when it is clear there are so many serious
flaws, and the bills seem destined for being vetoed.

New stop will be the full House -- Please take time NOW to contact your
House member and ask him or her stop this bad package of bills -- let
them know that the House should not be in the business of giving away
control over YOUR public lands to line the timber industry's pocket. 

Anne Woiwode, Director
Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter
109 East Grand River Avenue,  Lansing, MI  48906
ph: 517-484-2372 fx: 517-484-3108 e: anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org
website:  http://michigan.sierraclub.org 

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