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


It looks quite possible that the Senate will take up the "Healthy Forest
Bills" tomorrow, moving the state a step closer to privatization of our

The three bills "tie-barred" together have been toned down a little from
introduction to the House earlier this year, but there is NO
justification for the Legislature to pass or the Governor to sign into
law bills that open the door to privatizing our publicly owned State
Forest system and allowing private timber interests to move much closer
to running the management of these multiple use lands.

While some argue these bills aren't as bad as they used to be, the point
is missed that never before has Michigan even seriously talked about
allowing the timber industry to run our state forest system -- hunters,
hikers, campers, even local communities concerned about water quality
and tourism, have been on an equal footing with this narrow, single
interest.  Now, the political force of lobbying by a very narrow part of
the forest products industry is moving toward taking YOUR recreational
lands, YOUR hunting lands, YOUR lands for nature study and birdwatching,
and giving the timber industry much more power over management.

The problems continue to be: 

SB 1023 -- creates a "pilot forest" system which creates as system where
private or non-state entities would be allowed to "contract" to run a
part of the State Forest system, opening the door to future private
management for private purpose of State Forest lands, in line with the
disastrous situation in Canada on its Crown Lands.

SB 1024 -- takes an existing bonding agency, the Forest Finance
Authority, which is given authority to use standing timber on state
forest lands as collateral to let bonds that are then use to do timber
cutting and other management on the State Forests. While this authority
has NEVER been used, and the Gov's office claims there is no reason to
think it would ever be convened, the bill puts 4 timber industry
representatives on vs. one statewide conservationist, with NO forest
recreation interests, local gov't interests.  State officials make up
the balance of the Board, but the clear message is that Big Timber
interests should set the tone for management of these public forest
lands -- that is a BAD idea!

HB 5554 has some value, setting up a set of purposes for the State
Forests, calling for planning and certification of these lands, but then
ruins the good by tie-barring this bill to the other two.  That means
that you can't get the good in HB 5554 without the outrageous bad in SB
1023 and SB 1024 -- As a result, ALL need to be voted down, unless the
tie-bar can be removed and only HB 5554 can move forward.

An aside -- it appears, despite the elimination of the "Timber Mandate"
in the Executive Budget introduced earlier this year, the Senate has now
put BACK IN the timber mandate into the DNR Budget Bill.  Ironically,
this stupid action by the Timber industry is VERY likely to kill off the
possibility of the state obtaining Timber Certification, which is also
very much wanted by the Timber Industry.  There is NO QUESTION that this
arbitrary mandate for an arbitrary amount of timber marking and
production off Michigan's state forest system will PREVENT certification
under one of the systems the state is requiring be used for
certification.  By the way, if the state forests aren't certified, the
largest industry users of Michigan state forest timber products won't be
able to sell their timber to the wholesale users of the paper and other
wood products they produce.  

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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