Help Save Our Forests

Open Letter to the Voters of Maine

 Press release

   An Act Regarding Forest Practices

  A Call to Action

 article "Forest Practices Citizen's Initiative" from the Legislative Bulletin

JANUARY 31, 2000

Maine people, representing over 500 Maine volunteers of all political parties, submitted over 42,000 signatures for a people's referendum ballot for November, 2000, to the Secretary of State. If verified, Maine voters will have a say in saving the forests and saving Maine forest jobs in a moderate bill. It is both balanced and reasonable.

Maine people DO care about saving forests and jobs for the future. Those jobs need forests. We depend on forests. Forests stand guard for rivers, lakes, streams, fish, wildlife, and water sources for all of us, as well as produce raw materials for paper and other wood products. In may ways, we all depend on the forests.

We will refuse to be scared again about losing jobs if we vote to save the forests. Forest loss Is job loss. By now, we have learned our lesson. We have lost too much already. WE TRIED TO AVOID ANOTHER PEOPLE'S VOTE THROUGH SENSIBLE LEGISLATION IN AUGUSTA .... WITHOUT SUCCESS. NOW THE LEGISLATURE COULD AVOID A PEOPLE'S VOTE BY PASSING THIS COMPROMISE!

We'll officially announce success in putting the issue on the ballot in 2000 when we have a letter of verification from the Secretary of State that the necessary number of signatures has been counted.

This is the ballot question: "Do You Favor Requiring Landowners to Obtain a Permit For All Clearcuts and Defining Cutting Levels For Lands subject To Tree Growth Tax Law?" WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

FIRST, it is not a clearcutting ban. With good reason to clearcut more than five acres of land(storm and budworm damage, for example) a permit could be given by the Maine Forest Service. Applications would be open to the public and a appeal process in place.

SECOND, if a TAX BREAK is given by the state under the 30-year old Tree Growth Tax Law which was instituted to assure sustainable forestry, the cutting can't exceed the growth rate. This is only fair. Maine taxpayers subsidize these tax breaks. they should be sure those who get them live up to their commitment. This will not hurt small woodlot owners because they do not cut destructively, and for the most part cut sustainably. It won't hurt householders who worry they might not be able to cut to build a house or for firewood, for examples.

THIRD, there will be a permanent Council on sustainable Forest Management appointed by the Governor to establish the rules to make this law work. Environmental groups and the paper corporations will not be on the Council. People with scientific expertise and forestry experience WILL.

This bill's supporters are caring people, north and south, who have been tireless in trying to save the forests and forest jobs. Be sure, Mainers won't give up this work.

P.O.BOX 2218 , AUGUSTA, MAINE TEL/FAX 207 623-7512

283 Water Street, 3rd floor, P.O. Box 2118, Augusta, Maine 04338
Phone: 207-623-7140

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