February 15, 1997
Johnson, Bakk introduce white
pine funding bill
State Senator Doug Johnson (DFL-Tower) and State Representative Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook)
introduced legislation Thursday that would appropriate $1.5 Million in
state funding over teh biennium to restore and regenerate white pine
forests in Minnesota.
The bill would provide $600,000 each year to increase efforts to
regenerate white pines and an additional $150,000 a year for research on
white pine blister rust disease. The bill would also encourage
public-private partnerships so that regeneration efforts apply to all
types of forest lands in Minnesota.
The legislation grew out of reccomendations put forward by the White Pine
Regeneration Strategies Work Group, a group made up of representatives of
government, industry, educational institutions and environmental
orgranizations. The group was appointed by the DNR to review the status of
the white pine to recommend strategies that will increase the role and
presence of white pines in Minnesota.
The group was initiated last year under pressure from white pine
advocates, who have called for a moratorium on cutting white pine until
the DNR had developed a sustainable yield plan. Legislation calling for a
cutting moratorium is expected to be introduced in St. Paul again this
"There is widespread support throughout the state for this type of
proactive approach to insure a positive future for the white pine," said
Jack LaVoy, executive vice-president fo teh Minnesota Forest Industries.
"Our bill is a simple one," said Bakk, "but it does what everyone with an
interest in white pine agrees must be done -- get more trees in the ground
and protect them as they grow."