May andJune April 2006



In the News

Potlatch Says No to Poplar Mill

The Potlatch Corp had planned to build an $8.1 million sawmill. The company had intended to use the new sawmill to process logs from its poplar plantation in Boardman, Ore. At this time it looks like the company will cancel its plans and find a firm with hardwood manufacturing and marketing experience to assist in processing its logs.

Duties Lifted on Canadian Softwood

In late April an agreement was reached to remove American duties on Canadian softwood lumber imports. It was a political victory for President Bush and PM Harper.

Simply stated, Canada and the U.S. agree to allow free trade unless the price of framing lumber drops below $355 per thousand board feet. (If it drops below $355, a Canadian export tax goes into effect.) The U.S. lumber industry keeps $1 billion of the $5 billion in duties collected by the U.S. since 2002.

It was estimated that without this agreement, the trade litigation could have continued for another 25 years.


2005 Record Year for Lumber

According to the Western Wood Products Association (WWPA), North American lumber production topped 75 billion board feet in 2005 — an all-time record. Canadian production was 34.4 billion board feet, led by record production in British Columbia of 17.4 bbf. Total production in the other provinces was off 6.4 percent compared to the year before.

In the south, U.S. sawmills produced a record 18.9 bbf, up 5 percent from the previous high set in 2004. Coastal sawmills produced an estimated 11.8 bbf, a record high for that region. Inland production came in at 6.6 bbf, off 3 percent compared to 2004, and 42 percent below its all-time high of 11.4 bbf set in 1987.

Compromising on a Forest Management Plan

It’s not every day you see timber mills and conservation groups coming together. But in April the two groups unveiled a compromise proposal for management of Montana’s 3.3 million-acre Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest.

Representatives from the timber industry say the plan provides them a more secure supply of wood products and future restoration work. Conservationists point out that the money raised by logging on a national forest will go back to that forest, rather than to the national treasury. They are also excited by the fact that this proposal could lead to the first designation of wilderness areas in Montana in more than 20 years.

“In the past, we’ve been skeptical about (collaboration),” said Ed Regan of RY Timber, which employs about 450 people at its Townsend and Livingston mills. “But we felt that the industry is on the threshold of collapse if something doesn’t get done soon. This is one way to resolve the problem.”

Weyerhaeuser Gets Heat Over Spotted Owl

Weyerhaeuser and the Department of Natural Resources are the focus of legal action taken by two chapters of the Audubon Society. The Society has charged that spotted owl populations are declining because not enough land has been set aside in Southwest Washington. Weyerhaeuser is denying the charges, claiming that it has gone above and beyond the requirements. The State is still reviewing the case.

A lawsuit hasn’t been filed. The Endangered Species Act requires a 60-day notice be given prior to the filing of a suit. In this notice, Audubon chapters state that the major concerns are over five spots in Grays Harbor and Pacific counties where the State has allowed Weyerhaeuser to log close to
spotted owl nesting areas.

Weyerhaeuser’s representative, Frank Mendizabal, was quoted in the Daily World as stating, “It’s also important to note that all of the land in question is second- and thirdgrowth hemlock forests and none of it is old-growth.”


New Mill Operational Soon

Sawmill Co.'s new stud mill, located on 40 acres purchased from the Port of Centralia near Centralia, Wash., should be fully operational by the end of June. The mill will be running two shifts, with an annual capacity of 180 million board feet of 8-, 9-, and 10-foot studs. The mill will start production using Douglas fir, and adding hemlock and dry kilns later this year.


Governor Gregoire Signs Tax Relief Bill

In March, Washington’s Governor Chris Gregoire signed Senate Bill 6874 that will save timber companies an estimated $56 million during the next five years. Bill 6874 reduced business and occupation tax for loggers and wood-product manufacturers by 12.5 percent beginning July 1. Then, one year later, the full 40-percent tax cut is set to go into effect.

The legislation is to help timber industry companies comply with forest management rules, pay rising energy costs, and compete globally.


ODFW Protecting Timberland Owners

Preventing vandalism, garbage dumping, poaching and other crimes is a constant challenge for private industrial timberland owners. Since 2000, grants from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's Access and Habitat Program have funded law enforcement patrols on more than 3 million acres of privately owned timberlands across the state.

The Access and Habitat Program was created by the Oregon Legislature in 1993 and is funded by a $2 surcharge on hunting licenses. Last year, the A&H Program funded 13 Oregon State Police senior troopers who patrolled nearly three million acres of western Oregon private timberlands in 14 counties during hunting seasons.

Between August 2005 and the end of last year, troopers patrolling western Oregon private timberlands drove nearly 95,000 miles for 7,600 hours of patrol time. They contacted 5,466 individuals, conducted 169 investigations, gave out 794 warnings for various violations and made 232 arrests or issued citations. The total cost for the 2005 patrols was $216,343.

Some of the most common violations are littering, driving off-highway vehicles in prohibited areas, illegal fires and vandalism. But they also deal with more serious crimes in these remote locations, making forest law enforcement a particularly dangerous job.



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This page was last updated on Friday, October 20, 2006