In the News
Because many of these agencies have overlapping missions fire prevention and suppression, natural resource conservation, fostering recreational uses, and regulating commercial activities the House Appropriations subcommittee on interior, environment, and related agencies, and the Government Accountability Office have begun looking to see whether it would make sense to move the Forest Service.
“The public perceives them as being very similar,” said Robin M. Nazzaro, director of the Natural Resources and Environment group at GAO, which is conducting the study. “They’ve just asked us to look at, could any money be saved, and would it result in a more efficient, effective, and coordinated management of federal lands and the natural resources?”
One argument in favor of such a move is that the Forest Service is no longer chiefly devoted to managing the harvesting of timber.
“You have more recreational campground areas in the Forest Service than you do even in the Park Service,” Behan said. “So there’s a logical reason for considering it. However, the question has to be asked, ‘Is it the best thing for each agency and for land management?’”
Transforming the Forest Service would be difficult to say the least. Just suggesting the change creates anxiety, especially for the timber industry. For many, it’s a sign that forests will be preserved, not harvested.
Mark E. Rey, USDA’s undersecretary for natural resources and environment, said the department will cooperate with the study, “and when we see what the results are, we’ll take a position on it.”
$54 million in Grants On March 31, Forest Service Chief, Abigail Kimbell, announced the award of $54 million in grants to permanently protect thirty-five working forests across thirty-two states.
“The Forest Legacy Program conserves open space, which allows us to respond to climate change, improves water quality and flows, and connects children to nature,” said Kimbell. “The strength of the Forest Legacy Program is the cooperation between States, partners, and private landowners all working together to protect environmentally and economically important forests that are threatened by conversion.”
The Forest Legacy Program is the only Federal grant program focused on the permanent protection of important private forestland. The Forest Legacy Program promotes voluntary land conservation by operating on the principle of “willing buyer, willing seller.”
Potlatch to Evaluate Spin-Off of Pulp-Based Businesses Potlatch Corporation announced today that it is evaluating a potential tax-free spin-off of the Company’s pulp-based businesses.
If pursued, a spin-off would create two stand-alone, publicly traded entities: a timber REIT, with 1.65 million acres of forestland in Arkansas, Idaho, Minnesota, and Wisconsin; and a pulpbased manufacturing company that would include Potlatch’s Consumer Products facilities in Lewiston, Idaho, Las Vegas, Nevada, and Elwood, Illinois, and its Pulp & Paperboard facilities in Lewiston and Cypress Bend, Ark. The businesses to be evaluated for spin-off had revenues of approximately $1.2 billion in 2007.
Potlatch Chairman, President, and CEO, Michael J. Covey, said, “If the Board decides to pursue the spinoff of our pulp-based businesses, it would, among other things, enable management to focus more intently on Potlatch’s core Timber and Real Estate businesses, drive more predictable cash flows, limit volatility from future earnings, and deliver long-term growth. At the same time, the spin-off company would be able to increase focus on managing and growing its manufacturing businesses without the restrictions imposed under REIT rules.”