Booher works with Midwest state leaders on natural resources issues

LANSING —Sen. Darwin Booher worked with lawmakers from 11 states to adopt two natural resources policy resolutions at the 67th Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Legislative Conference (MLC) of the Council of State Governments held in Cleveland on July 15-18.

“I was honored to represent Michigan at the Midwestern Legislative Conference, and I was proud that we were able to find agreement on two issues important to northern Michigan and our entire region,” said Booher, R-Evart. “The fishing and timber industries provide good jobs for thousands of Michigan workers and contribute billions of dollars each year to our economy. Our lakes and forests also support a vibrant tourism industry and add to our excellent quality of life.

“Unfortunately, all these are threatened due to ineffective management of our forestlands and the double-crested cormorant.”

Booher served on the MLC’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and helped draft two resolutions adopted by the conference members: one on regulations governing management of cormorants and the other on national forestland management.

“The management of our national forests should be directed toward long-term sustainability that promotes healthy forests and maintains or improves the forest’s recreational and aesthetic benefits,” Booher said. “The forest products industry can play a role in both of these goals while also providing jobs and supporting local communities and schools.”

The forest management resolution noted that the forest products industry in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin employs more than 100,000 people, with a combined payroll of nearly $6 billion. The MLC urged Congress and the U.S. Forest Service to take immediate action to redirect forest management toward long-term, multiple-use management systems.

“The double-crested cormorant continues to pose a threat to the Great Lakes fishing and tourism industries,” Booher said. “Thankfully, Michigan is a leader in the fight against this destructive bird, and regional officials agree that Michigan should serve as a model to other states to develop similar coordination efforts for cormorant management.”

The MLC recommended that states and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service consider a statewide coordination group that guides cormorant management, such as what has been done in Michigan.

The Council of State Governments is a nonpartisan association of state officials that promotes excellence in state government. The regionally based, national organization fosters the exchange of insights and ideas to help state officials shape public policy. The Midwest region includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.