Another ‘Back-Room Deal!’

Here’s the lowdown: The Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee will be considering legislation dealing with audits on Thursday afternoon, March 12th, at 1 p.m. in Room 109 of the State Office Building in work session.

Audits were in the Compact and the Compact was defeated twice against incredible odds, a Governor, and $8 million in two elections. The “No more rules and regulations” message from the grassroots of Maine has not been heard by most people on this committee who thinks the state needs to control the forests, but here’s the sneaky part:

A paper passed out to the Committee on Tuesday afternoon by Chuck Gadzik titled “Inventory and Benchmarking Option”, follows the outline exactly which was laid down by a hand-picked bunch King put together in 1995 by Executive Order called “Maine Council on Sustainable Forest Management, Criteria, Goals, and Benchmarks for Sustainable Forest Management.” Ron Lovaglio, the Commissioner of the Dept. of Conservation was Chair and Chuck Gadzik, Director of the Maine Forest Service, was Vice Chair. There were eleven King appointments, including two from the UMO department of forestry and a conservation planner from The Nature Conservancy. Chief Scribe was Donald Mansius, Chief Planner in the Commissioner’s office. They came up with 7 benchmarks of forest sustainability… the same 7 which were passed out by Gadzik on Tuesday!

That’s pretty slick isn’t it? All the King’s horses and all the King’s men couldn’t get the Compact in the front door so, amid the confusion of deadlines, the committee can bring it in the back door!

Tomorrow afternoon will be mighty interesting. Stay tuned. I’ll report on the committee bill and how each member of the committee voted so that you’ll know who’s in on the latest back room deal to turn your hard-won victory into defeat. If they vote any of the current forestry bills “ought to pass,” then we can all remember in November.

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