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The White Pine Society

White Pine News

Timberjay 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 year.

"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."