Michigan environmentalists fear for natural resources under Trump

Capital News Service
LANSING — It’s early days for the Trump administration, but environmental advocates throughout Michigan already are alarmed about the future of the state’s public lands and natural resources. Mike Berkowitz, legislative director of the Sierra Club’s Michigan chapter, is one of many who views the state’s lands as particularly vulnerable under the new president and his controversial cabinet picks. “The people that he’s been putting in a position of leadership are very concerning to us,” Berkowitz said, emphasizing the ties many of them have to corporate interests. “We have seen a huge proliferation of money, largely from the fossil fuel industry, coming into politics and weighing into campaigns at the detriment of people who care about the environment,” Berkowitz said. Sierra Club leaders said the environment has become a political issue in recent decades, althoughprotection of natural resources was a bipartisan concern in the past.

Private land finds home in Qualified Forest Program

Capital News Service
LANSING — A state program that more than tripled the private land managed for forestry in just three years earns unusual praise from both forest products producers and environmentalists. If there is one thing the two groups agree on, it’s that both of their preferred uses “are better than subdivisions,” said Marvin Roberson, a forest ecologist with the Michigan chapter of the Sierra Club. “If you got 160 acres and your only choice is to sell to a subdivision because you can’t afford the taxes, this keeps it in forested land.”
The Qualified Forest Program gives tax breaks to landowners who agree to manage their forests under a plan developed by a state-certified forester. The plans help them harvest their land sustainably, but they also can consider how to better provide for wildlife or keep invasive species from overtaking the land. Industry officials agree it’s been a success.