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MAT Legislative Update September 2021

The Michigan legislature has returned from the summer in-district work period with a focus on completing the state budget prior to the October 1st deadline. Meanwhile, MAT was busy this summer opposing and monitoring efforts to block forest land from timber harvesting.

MAT Opposing Efforts to Further Prevent Logging in the Ottawa National Forest

In August, MAT contacted state and federal legislators to oppose efforts to prevent logging, mining, and development in 51,000 acres of the Ottawa National Forest in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

A coalition calling itself “Keep the U.P. Wild” recently proposed working with the Biden Administration to block this acreage from being harvested and developed. This short-sighted, ill-informed proposal will negatively impact our industry and several industries with a long history of driving the economy in the U.P. while also protecting our natural resources.

At a time where the demand for these precious resources is increasing, we find it ironic that environmental extremists want to limit supply of timber and raw materials. A proposal like this would only lead to price increases for consumers and threaten our industry.

MAT will continue to advocate with our federal legislators to oppose any such efforts and we’ve been told that there will be a resolution introduced in the Michigan Senate shortly calling on the federal government to reject this proposal.

MAT Monitoring Carbon Credits for DTE in the Pigeon

DTE recently announced an agreement with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) to spend $10 million to purchase carbon credits to offset carbon emissions that they produce by investing in state forests. This project will take place over 100,000 acres in the Pigeon River Country State Forest.

MAT has been in discussions with the DNR on the project and has been assured that this project won’t impact timer harvesting in the Pigeon. That said, we will continue to monitor and discuss the project with the department and work with other timber partners to advocate for our industry.

The DNR website says the following regarding timber harvesting from this project:

“Management of state forest resources and the sale of carbon credits are intended to be complementary. Carbon credits will be generated from the management of forest resources within the Pigeon River Country state forest, as governed by the 2007 Pigeon River Country Concept of Management and the 2013 Northern Lower Peninsula Regional State Forest Management Plan. It is not anticipated that the carbon project will adversely affect management and timber harvests levels from the forest. Carbon credits are generated based on the DNR’s commitment to maintaining forest growth levels and progressively increasing forest stocking, rather than increasing harvest levels as would be allowable under the management plan and state law.”

State Leaders Announce Budget Agreement

State Budget Director, Dave Massaron, Senate Appropriations Chairman, Jim Stamas, and House Appropriations Chairman, Tom Albert recently announced that they have an agreement together for the Fiscal Year 2022 state budget.

The budget is expected to move through the legislative process soon and be sent to Governor Whitmer’s desk by the October 1st deadline. All sides have been very tight lipped on the details of the budget however, it’s expected to exceed $50 billion total which would make it the largest budget in Michigan history.

While Michigan still has several billions left over from the federal government COVID relief dollars from the past few years, it’s expected those dollars will be spent in several supplemental budgets later this fall.

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