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WORKERS PETITION CELEBRITIES TO ENTERTAIN HUMAN COSTS OF FOREST PROTECTION

 WORKERS PETITION CELEBRITIES TO ENTERTAIN
 HUMAN COSTS OF FOREST PROTECTION
 BONNER, Mont., Sept. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- In a petition sent to a group of celebrities, including Michael J. Fox, Ed Begley Jr., Whoopi Goldberg, Bruce Willis and a host of others, working men and women in Montana called upon celebrities and members of the entertainment industry to learn more about the cost of extreme environmental protection on jobs and family welfare.
 The petition was sent earlier this week to those entertainers who signed a statement opposing the Montana National Forest Management Act, S. 1696, now under consideration by the U.S. Congress. This legislation will set aside nearly 1.2 million acres of national forest land, as Montana's first statewide wilderness bill. Labor helped stimulate a mediation process that brought together environmentalists, industry and labor to reach a compromise. As a result, a statewide proposal was then developed by members of Congress. Forest products workers in the state believe it provides the best balance between protecting forests and jobs.
 The petition included a statement noting that the signatories, "Work in Montana lumber and wood products mills and (we) support (S. 1696), and reasonable amendments made by the House because it provides wilderness protection and a reasonable sustainable timber harvest."
 The statement accompanying the petition chastised the celebrities for supporting wilderness legislation that would severely restrict timber harvests -- resulting in widespread job loss and community upheaval -- without consulting those who would be most affected.
 "As a celebrity we believe you have an obligation to investigate all sides of an issue before advocating any one position before Congress. We live in Montana and we need the wilderness issue resolved. You've made that immensely more difficult. You should have talked to working people before embracing the most extreme environmental Montana wilderness 'cause'
 "We depend on a sustained yield harvest to support our families," the statement continued. "We don't want food stamps and welfare, we want decent paying jobs. Why, with all your fame and wealth, are you attempting to take that from us?"
 The petition came on the heels of a letter from Sigurd Lucassen, president of the 550,000 member United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBCJA), AFL-CIO, to entertainers who signed the statement.
 In the letter Lucassen wrote, "The Montana bill represents a consensus -- reached through compromise -- as to how to manage the Montana lands subject under the act in the public's best interest ... we (the UBCJA) welcome your continued involvement in the public debate on forest management policy, however it is my hope that we might persuade you to adopt a more balanced approach that protects both jobs and the environment."
 Bryan Erhart, one of the organizers of the petition drive, said: "Our members are in the greatest fight of their lives. Unlike Hollywood movie stars, forest products workers cannot depend on a director or script writer to produce a happy ending. Entertainers have responsibility to weigh both sides of an issue before issuing a statement that has tremendous impact on hundreds of thousands of workers and their livelihoods. Celebrities who come to Montana a few times a year to stay on their huge ranches shouldn't be trying to destroy the livelihoods of those who live and work here year-round."
 -0- 9/8/92
 /CONTACT: Bryan Erhart, 406-728-2443, or Denny Scott, 202-546-6206, both for the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America/ CO: United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America ST: Montana IN: ENT PAP SU: LEG


KD -- DC040 -- 7163 09/08/92 16:37 EDT
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Date:Sep 8, 1992
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