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Benishek to address increasing timber harvests on federal land

June 9, 2011
The Daily News

SAGOLA - U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls, conducted a "Forestry Field Tour" with the Society of American Foresters on Tuesday.

Afterwards, he said his first bill would deal with timber harvests on federal land.

The tour comes after months of meeting with loggers, timber product companies, and forestry experts regarding timber harvesting and its impact on job creation in the First District.

"Northern Michigan is blessed with abundant natural resources and I believe we need to harvest these resources in a responsible manner to create jobs and stimulate our economy," Benishek said.

"I found the forestry tour with the Society of American Foresters very informative as I continue to learn more about ways to assist this valuable industry in our region," Benishek said in a statement.

The forestry tour began in Delta County's Wells Township in the morning, and then continued through forestry timberlands in the southern Upper Peninsula.

The tour concluded with a roundtable discussion in Sagola on issues facing the industry.

Benishek has identified streamlining timber harvesting on federal lands as the goal of his first piece of legislation.

He is continuing to examine different ways to increase timber production on federal lands, including accounting reforms and third party certification.

"When I return to Washington, I plan to introduce a simple, common sense bill that will allow the Forest Service to use a 'pre-decisional' administration review for the process for timber sales," Benishek said. "This is a straightforward reform that cuts red tape and creates jobs in northern Michigan."

Benishek finished by stating that he hopes to use his position on the House Committee on Natural Resources to protect loggers in northern Michigan from overzealous federal regulations that delay timber harvests and slow economic activity.



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