FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                    CONTACT: Bill Brown

Friday, September 21, 2001                                                     287-1300




Speaker’s Advisory Council On forest Certification seeks comments



            Augusta-- Maine:  Citing a need for input, Speaker of the House Michael V. Saxl and the recently formed Speaker’s Advisory Council on Forest Certification, today released a complete meeting schedule. 


Through a series of meetings and briefings, the Council will consider the different forest certification systems being used throughout the state.  The Council also welcomes the submission of written comments to help guide their work. 


Several forest certification systems are used to determine what practices are used by landowners, the success of these practices, and increasingly, as a marketing tool aimed at conservation conscious consumers.  A pilot project under the Maine Forest Service is looking at ways to use certification to release landowners from certain state forestry regulations in cases where certification standards are at least as stringent as state law. 


The Council is charged with issuing a report in January that compares certification systems in an accessible document and presents a picture of how certification works in Maine today.  “Education of the public and of policymakers is the one goal I have for the Council,” said Saxl, “Maine people deserve the best information we can assemble.” 

The seven members of the Council represent a wide array of interests and experience:

                        Robert Bryan, Forest Ecologist, Maine Audubon

Dawn Gallagher, Assistant Commissioner, Maine Department of Conservation

John S. Gunn, Vice-President, Conservation and Land Management, Hancock Land Company

                        Lloyd Irland, President, The Irland Group

                        Ralph Knoll, Chief Planner, Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands

Jeff Romano, Executive Director, Small Woodlot Owners Association of Maine

G. Bruce Wiersma, Dean, College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture, University of Maine


Praising the Council’s members, Saxl said, “I am impressed by the way Council members have stepped forward and with their enthusiasm for this monumental job.  This is a terrific group.”


The Council’s next meeting is to be held at the Statehouse September 25, at 9:00 AM in Room 334, Legislative Council Chambers.  Anyone wishing to submit written comments should contact the Speaker’s Office at 287-1300 to receive details of the Council’s focus and charge.  Those planning to attend should also call so that sufficient arrangements may be made.