IN THE NEWS
Environmental Groups to Post Bond
In January Judge Donald Molloy told several environmental
groups —Alliance for the Wild Rockies, the Ecology
Center and the Native Ecosystem Alliance — that if they
wanted him to issue a restraining order to stop a logging project
near Butte, Mont., they were going to have to post a
$100,000 bond. Should the groups lose the lawsuit and the litigation
caused a delay and loss in timber value, they would
forfeit the $100,000.
The timber industry believes this was a wise ruling that
would make environmental groups think before filing a
Environmental groups, however, are worried this will set
a precedent of limiting judicial recourse to the wealthy. They
are appealing the decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
G-P Sells Mill to Murphy Plywood
Georgia-Pacific sold its west Eugene, Ore. hardwood mill
to Murphy Plywood, based in Sutherlin. The sale was completed
in December and the mill reopened in January.
Murphy said his company is rehiring most of the
employees who worked at the mill under Georgia-Pacific,
but the workforce is expected to be about 250, down from 275
under Georgia-Pacific. However, wages are expected to remain
the same, 20 percent expected to get raises and 20 percent
expected to get pay cuts.
There has been a lot of news coming from Weyerhaeuser.
The company announced it was closing its Cosmopolis,
Wash. pulp mill and the 81-year-old Aberdeen, Wash.
sawmill. This is in addition to the closure of its veneer and
plywood facility in Wright City, Okla., the Prince Albert pulp
mill in Saskatchewan Province in Canada, and various corrugated
converting plants in Ohio, New York, Arkansas,
North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.
Chief executive officer Steve Rogel stated that it was “. . .
part of an ongoing effort to strengthen Weyerhaeuser’s overall
portfolio and enhance shareholder value.”
At the same time Weyerhaeuser has announced that it will
launch a multimillion-dollar upgrade to its Longview, Wash.
mill. It is just part of the $850 million being spent on company-
wide capital improvements.
Lumber Duties Cut
The Commerce Department is complying with the
NAFTA panel’s order to drastically cut U.S. duties on imported
Canadian softwood. The countervailing duty will be
assessed at a rate of 8.7 percent, down from the current 16.2
percent. The "all-other" anti-dumping rate fell to 2.1 percent
from 4 percent. The combined rate of 10.8 percent is a serious
drop from the previous collection rate of 20.2 percent.
In December six individuals were arrested in connection
with several unsolved acts of "eco-terror" committed between
1998 and 2001 in Oregon and Washington. They included:
Stanislas Meyerhoff and Daniel McGowan who were
charged with the January 2001 arson at the Superior Lumber
Company in Glendale, Ore., and the May 2001 arson at
Jefferson Poplar Farms in Clatskanie, Ore.; McGowan along
with Chelsea Gerlach were arrested in connection with destroying
a Bonneville Power Administration electrical transmission
tower in Bend, Ore. in December 1999; Kevin Tubbs
and William Rodgers were charged with the June 1998 arson
at the Animal and Plant and Health Inspection Services
(APHIS) facility in Olympia, Wash.; Sarah Harvey was
charged in connection with a December 1998 arson at U.S.
Forest Industries in Medford, Ore. Charges carry federal
penalties ranging from 20 years to life.
More Thinning in Rogue
River-Siskiyou National Forest
The Oregonian reported that the Rogue River-Siskiyou
National Forest in Southwest Oregon will be moving away
from harvesting storied old-growth trees, and instead do
more thinning of younger stands.
Harvesting virgin forests has become synonymous with
lawsuits, and those lawsuits are draining funds from the projects.
More cost-effective and less controversial, is thinning
crowded, fire-prone forests.
The national forest "has thousands of acres that need treatments
to improve forest health and reduce fire risk," says
Forest Supervisor Scott Conroy.
9th Circuit Rules Against Lolo Salvage Project
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco
overturned the ruling of a lower court rejecting the U.S. Forest
Service's proposal to conduct a salvage project on 4,600
acres scattered throughout Montana's Lolo National Forest,
74,000 acres of which had burned during a 2000 wildfire.
The suit was initiated by the Ecology Center of Missoula,
which claimed the Forest Service had inadequately considered
impacts of the project on soils, old-growth trees, and
two species of woodpeckers.
A December 18 editorial in a Missoula newspaper asks
what kind of assurances the Ninth Circuit was looking for —
pointing toward a 1,900-page EIS supported by 20,000 pages
of documentation, which the Forest Service had compiled.
2004 Good Year for West Coast Mills
The Global Lumber/Sawnwood Coast Benchmarking Report
2004 reported that sawmills on the West Coast were the
world's most profitable in 2004. Earning were on average
three times that of overall global average earnings. In the
number two spot were Australian mills, followed by those
in BC’s Interior Region sawmills. The report was produced
by International Wood Markets Research Inc., PricewaterhouseCoopers
LLP, and the Beck Group.
New Mill for Simpson
In December it was reported that Simpson Timber Co.
was purchasing 35 acres at the Port of Longview in Washington.
Media reports indicate that the land is to be used for
construction of a new sawmill. Although a company official
stated there was no plan for construction of a mill, the acquisition
did "represent an important step for us in considering
McCracken Leaves Us
Robert “Bob” McCracken, retired president and chairman
of the board of Patrick Lumber Co. in Portland, Ore. died this
past January after complications resulting from a surgery. He
was 71 and will be missed by many.
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