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


I am writing this letter with the hope that it will reach Maine citizens. You have the capability this November 7th of stopping the continued destruction of Maine's forests. Our campaign, Vote Yes on 2, was initiated by the volunteer efforts of hundreds of Maine citizens just like you who last November collected over 42,000 signatures to place the Yes on 2 question before the voters. From the beginning, it has been a citizen effort to try to bring a halt to the tragic destruction taking place in the Maine Woods. In the last twenty years millions of acres have been clearcut and sprayed with toxic chemicals - millions more have been severely over-cut by large multinational corporations. According to a U.S. Forest Service report these same corporations are continuing to cut the forest twice as fast as it is growing back. We only have to think of our fishing families that lost their boats and jobs when the corporate trawlers fished out the Gulf of Maine to understand the consequences of non-sustainable timber practices.

I am not going to tell you how to vote on question 2. You will be told a thousand times over by the slick multimillion dollar advertising campaign being aired by the corporations who are responsible for the destruction. Our citizen campaign can not compete. We do not have an open checkbook from corporate headquarters. I do want you to read Question 2 so that you can make an informed decision - not based on their sound bites. The Vote Yes on 2 question is only three paragraphs long - 292 words. You can find it at our website (full text of bill) or you can call the Secretary of State and he will send you a copy.
After you read it, ask yourself these three questions.

1. Should Maine's forests be harvested so that cut does not exceed growth?

2. Is it reasonable to require all clearcuts over five acres to be allowed only when good science justifies them?

3. Is it a good idea to create a Governor appointed Sustainability Council which, with public input, will design a plan to ensure the health and productivity of our forests?

If you answered yes to all three questions, it makes sense to vote for question 2. It is that simple.

The multinational corporations are trying to scare you into voting against Question 2. They are using a few anti-regulation small woodlot owners and the threat of sprawl as smoke screens. I have never met a small woodlot owner, either in or out of the Tree Growth Tax Program, who clearcuts or over-cuts. I own 120 acres and I harvest my land to help pay for my children's education. Because of the way I harvest, my children will be able to do the same. Maine small woodlot owners give back to Maine by taking care of the forests and always thinking about the needs of the next generation. On the other hand, we give large tax breaks under the Tree Growth Tax Program to a handful of multinational corporations who clearcut the forest, spray it with toxic chemicals, and over-cut it to point where it will not be productive for many generations to come. The Tree Growth Tax Program was designed to reward good stewardship - and small woodlot owners have proven they are worthy. The large paper corporations have not lived up to their end of the bargain. These corporations are not only destroying the forest, but are cheating the taxpayers and stealing from future generations.

The paper corporations know they can not defeat Question 2 based on what is actually in it. They have resorted to trying to scare people, by trying to attach the issue of sprawl to Question 2. If you can find sprawl in this simple initiative, please let me know where. I might even consider voting against it myself!

I deplore politics which doesn't foster public education and discussion. It is important that Maine citizens base their vote on Question 2 on the merits of what is in it (full text of bill), rather than what is not in it. The Vote Yes on 2 proposal is a reasonable and sensible approach that will foster positive forest policy. Be careful, don't be fooled. I hope, after reading it you will decide to Vote Yes on Question 2. It is our best hope for the future of Maine's forests. Thank you.

Jonathan Carter
Dir. Forest Ecology Network

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

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