Northern Forests Still Under Greenline Attack
Even though S 546/HR 971 have been held up in committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) is still pressing the issue. The Northern Forest Stewardship Act (dubbed the "Skewership" Act, by critics) would Federalize more than 26 million acres of land in Maine, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont and greatly reduce logging and other economic activities in the region.
Several times this year, both Leahy and Rep. Charles Bass (R-NH) have tried to add language from the Skewership Act to other bills ~ luckily, without success. ALRA led a campaign to prevent this. We believe they will continue to use this and other methods to get this legislation through.
Sens. Olympia Snow and Susan Collins, both of Maine, promised their constituents field hearings. Thus far, nothing has been scheduled. Constituents and other concerned citizens should contact their offices and urge them to follow through. Snows office is (202) 224-5344, fax 224-1946 and Collins office is (202) 224-2523, fax 224-2693. Request a written response. People outside New England should contact their Senators and ask them to oppose S 546 and any attempt to add language as a rider to another bill. Capital switchboard (202) 224-3121.
Leahy contends that this legislation has broad support. That support consists of 40 plus environmental groups which make up the Northern Forest Alliance. Opposing organizations include the Farm Bureau, Vermont Forest Products Assoc., POST (Property Owners Standing Together), Maine Conservation Rights Institute (MECRI), Multiple Use Assoc of Maine & New Hampshire, Adirondack Solidarity Alliance, Associated Industries of Vermont, Common Sense for Maines Forests and many more.
One of the best private property conferences of 1998 was held in St. Johnsbury, VT in late June. Concerned grassroots from New England and activists from around the country attended this 2-day session on the Northern Forests and the Stewardship Act. Organized by ALRA and the Associated Industries of Vermont, the agenda included empowering local officials, community stability and growth, how this legislation impacts recreation and access, resource management and private property issues. Attendees claimed that it was the most informative and inspirational meeting of the year.
Newspaper articles in the Washington Post (8/24) and New York Times (8/11) popped up recently on this topic. But their slant is on the pending sales of private timberland and how it would open the land for summer home development.
Big stories like these usually mean movement in Congress. We suggest letters to the editor of both papers to set the record straight.
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