Sierra Club: The Planet--1996
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The Planet
Sierra Club Members Choose New Directors, New Forestry Policy

Sierra Club members have added three new faces to the national Board of Directors, and a new wrinkle to the Club's position on logging on national forests.

In the 1996 balloting, activists Anne Ehrlich, Lois Snedden and Susan Holmes won seats on the 15-member board, while incumbents J. Robert Cox and Roy Hengerson were re-elected to their second and third three-year terms respectively. Ehrlich is the associate director at Stanford University's Center for Conservation Biology, Snedden an editorial assistant from Reno, Nev., and Holmes the environmental program director at Columbia University in New York City. Cox, the top vote-getter, has stepped down after two years as the Club's president. (At press time, the Board had not yet voted for its new president.)

More controversial was a ballot initiative to put the Sierra Club on record as advocating an end to commercial logging on all federally owned public lands in the United States. The measure passed by a nearly 2-1 margin, winning 39,000 of the 59,000 votes cast. Significantly, it failed to carry in four Western states - Alaska, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming -- where many forest activists feared it could exacerbate tensions between conservationists and timber- dependent communities.

Given the ongoing devastation of public forests resulting from last year's "logging without laws" rider, however, a majority of those voting called on the Club to take a more sweeping stand. Previously, the Club was on record as favoring an end to clearcutting, type- conversion (replacing diverse native forests with unnatural single species plantings) and logging of old-growth or roadless areas on federal, state and private lands. Non- commercial cutting for firewood, fuel reduction and ecosystem restoration would still be permitted under the new Club position.

Carl Pope, the Club's executive director, called the measure's passage "a strong statement by our members that multiple use has failed - not because it was a flawed concept in principle, but because the federal government lacked the integrity to carry it out." He said the new posture would provide the Club with a "visionary objective" toward which the Club would advance in stages, by continuing to work for individual wilderness bills, repeal of the "logging without laws" rider and other incremental measures. The Club will also work to reduce wood and wood product consumption so that there is less demand, and legitimate needs can be met from private commercial forests. If and when federal legislation is introduced to ban commercial logging on public lands the Club will support the legislation and use the bill to educate the public and the Congress about the abuses of commercial logging on our public lands.

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