May June, 2003





In the News

Weyerhaeuser Hit Hard
In April, a Portland, Ore., jury awarded a hardwood lumber producer $78 million to be paid by Weyerhaeuser. Ross-Simmons Hardwood Lumber alleged that Weyerhaeuser violated federal antitrust laws, manipulating the Alder market in a deliberate attempt to drive rivals out of business. Weyerhaeuser stated in a press release following the verdict that it believes a number of issues erroneously led the jury to rule against the company. Weyerhaeuser will be vigorously contesting the verdict. Weyerhaeuser has taken a non-cash, after tax charge of $52 million, or 23 cents per share, against first quarter earnings to cover the damages awarded by the jury. "We continue to believe that we competed fairly in the marketplace," said Robert A. Dowdy, vice president and general counsel. "Based on this belief, we are vigorously pursuing every opportunity to have this decision reversed."

New Stud Mill in Washington
It seems like every time you turn around, another mill is closing. It’s refreshing to announce that a new stud mill will start producing May 12 in Winlock, Wash. Lewis County Forest Products expects to produce about 40 mmbf per year of green fir studs.

PLIB Adds Seven New Member Mills
Four lumber manufacturing companies located in the Pacific Northwest have joined Pacific Lumber Inspection Bureau (PLIB) since the first of the year, adding seven new mills to the Bureau’s membership. The new members are: Federated Co-Operatives, Ltd., Canoe, B.C.; Hy Mark Wood Manufacturing, Spangle, Wash.; Weyerhaeuser Corporation Bauman Division, Dallas Division, Lebanon Division, and Warrenton Division; and Roseburg Forest Products, Roseburg, Ore. With the addition of these seven mills, PLIB currently provides grade inspection services for 34 softwood lumber manufacturers representing 49 mills in the Pacific Northwest. The mills are expected to produce over 4 billion board feet of lumber in 2003. PLIB is also celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2003. The bureau has provided grading and mill inspection service to lumber producers in the Pacific Northwest continuously since it began in 1903 with a few mills scattered along the tidewaters of Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. Today the territory covers Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Northern California, and British Columbia.

Lanoga Acquires Truss Plant and Lumberyards
Lanoga, a 220-unit lumberyard chain based in Redmond, Wash., has agreed to purchase a truss plant and two lumberyards owned by Homesteader's Cache, Inc., in Wasilla and Houston (Big Lake), Alaska. Spendard Builders Supply, the division of Lanoga that will be purchasing the sites, already has 13 locations in Alaska.

Montana Proposed Habitat Plan
Some may be familiar with the conservation agreement proposed by Plum Creek Timber Co. It offered guarantees for long-term bull trout and cutthroat trout protection in exchange for an incidental take permit. Now a similar habitat conservation plan is being proposed by the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. The plan would cover approximately 700,000 acres of forested lands, including the Sula State Forest, and focus on threatened and endangered species and logging and other forest management activities on state school trust lands, many of which are scattered across western Montana. This voluntary legal agreement between landowners and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would provide conservation for threatened or endangered species while allowing "regulatory certainty" for the landowners.

Softwood Dispute May Be Over Soon
For a year now the Canadian softwood lumber dispute has continued with no sign of resolution — until now. To end the situation, which has caused hardship for both Canadians and Americans, may require Canadian forest companies to temporarily accept an export tax. "On the substance and essence of the matter, it's nearly resolved," said International Trade Minister Pierre Pettigrew. One of the issues still to be discussed is what will be done with the $1.2 billion the U.S. government has collected over the last year with its 27 percent tax on Canadian softwood. The American Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports is pushing for the duties to be put back into the industry. The U.S. government, however, has proposed using part of the money to create a new Canada-U.S. lumber council, but Ottawa insists that the duties be returned to Canada.

Bosworth Backs Fire Plan
This April, while speaking to the San Francisco Commonwealth Club, U.S. Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth supported California's revised selective logging plan as a model for reducing fire hazards in national forests in the West. Bosworth is focused on reducing fire loads and the dangers they pose to forests and rural communities. "The problem is especially great with dry forest ecosystems," says Bosworth. "In the Southwest, (ancient) ponderosa pine forests typically had densities of 15 to 50 trees an acre. Now we're seeing densities of hundreds, even thousands of trees to the acre. We have to restore these systems to their historic conditions." Bosworth reiterated this agency’s commitment to selective logging over "prescription" burning. He indicated that the Forest Service will be moving to implement policies nationwide that mirror the plan endorsed by Jack Blackwell, the service's regional forester for California.

Plum Creek Won't Pay
Plum Creek Timber Co. has declined to take any responsibility for two wildfires ignited by loggers on its timberland at Lolo Pass in the summer of 2000. The U.S. Forest Service spent $11 million fighting the flames that spread into the national forest, and would like to be reimbursed. An attorney for Plum Creek said it wasn’t their fault, but that of the independent contractors hired to log two tracts of company-owned forestland. No Plum Creek employees were at the sites when the fires ignited. The Forest Service intends on pursuing payment. "The U.S. citizens — taxpayers — are out $11 million, so that's what we are working to recover," said Doug Gochnour, the Clearwater Forest's administrative officer. "We really don't care who pays us. There's just an outstanding cost to the taxpayers that we want to recover."

Tigercat Appoints Pape
Tigercat has announced that Pape Machinery, Inc. will serve as its leveling feller bunchers dealer in Washington and Oregon. Pape debute the Tigercat leveling feller-buncher line at the Oregon Logging Conference in February, showcasing the LX830 and L870. "The addition of Tigercat to the full-line of products that we present will allow us to more completely meet the everchanging needs of our customers in the forestry industry," says Rodger Spears, president of Pape Machinery.


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This page was last updated on Tuesday, September 28, 2004