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
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