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Wal-Mart to drop Louisiana mulch

September 16, 2007|From Times Wire Services

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will stop selling cypress mulch from Louisiana, where environmentalists say the logging of the tree threatens the coast's eroding wetlands and puts the state at greater risk from hurricanes.

Wal-Mart will refuse to buy cypress mulch harvested, bagged or manufactured in Louisiana "to extend the life span of the coastal wetland forests," spokeswoman Tara Raddohl said.

Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart's decision was lauded by the Save Our Cypress coalition, an environmental group that has urged retailers to drop Louisiana cypress mulch. The campaign is targeting Home Depot Inc. and Lowe's Cos. Executives of both companies have said they don't use the mulch from coastal Louisiana, but environmentalists say they have traced it going into bags sold by company suppliers.

Foresters say that Louisiana's cypress stands are healthy and would regenerate, adding that advanced logging techniques cause little damage. They predict that scores of loggers and millworkers will be driven out of work by Wal-Mart's move.

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