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Coleman announces $2 million increase over initial 2008 budget for Minnesota forestry

Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman recently announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture has increased funding for forest management for the Superior and Chippewa National Forests by $2 million over what was initially projected. Total forest manageme...

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Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman recently announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture has increased funding for forest management for the Superior and Chippewa National Forests by $2 million over what was initially projected. Total forest management funding for fiscal year 2008 for the Superior and Chippewa National Forests will now be $11.794 million. The extra $2 million will allow the forest service to increase the timber board feet they are able to offer for sale, helping to maintain the critical logging infrastructure and industry in Northern Minnesota. This will help support the local economies that depend on timber.

"Forest management funding is an issue that I have been engaged in since coming to the Senate and I am encouraged that USDA is providing $2 million more than what was initially projected for the Superior and Chippewa National Forests," said Coleman. "I was up in Aitkin, Minn., at the end of the last year with the local foresters. The message was: the industry is hurting, the mills are closing, people are getting laid off, and more money is needed to implement the forest plans and cut timber. It was clear that given the economic challenges we are facing, cutting forest management funding by 25 percent would have been devastating, so I called Acting USDA Secretary Conner and urged him to deliver more money to manage our forests. Minnesota's forestry industry supports over 41,000 jobs, and the $2 million increase is evidence that message is getting through and that our voices are being heard."

"This is going to allow me to increase my offer level from the low 50 million board feet to 60 million board feet. In today's market I know this will help the local economy," said Jim Sanders, Forest Supervisor, Superior National Forest.

"This is outstanding news for us during these difficult economic times. It shows Senator Coleman's effectiveness and commitment to northern Minnesota's economy," said Wayne Brandt, executive vice president, Minnesota Forest Industries.

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