In The News

Two of North America’s oldest lumber grading agencies merge operations

Pacific Lumber Inspection Bureau (PLIB) and West Coast Lumber Inspection Bureau (WCLIB) have merged operations into a single entity. The surviving organization, PLIB, will retain all of the trademarks and services formally offered by WCLIB, including the structural glued laminated timber certification services of the American Institute of Timber Construction (AITC), a role WCLIB had assumed in January 2013.

PLIB President Jeff Fantozzi will lead the new combined organization from its headquarters office in Federal Way, Washington.

“While PLIB is officially the surviving entity, this merger is truly a blending of two equals,” Fantozzi said. “We will retain and strengthen all of the services we previously had been providing separately, and we’ll find efficiencies where duplicative services exist. Member companies will notice little in the way of service disruptions.”

The merger was effective January 1, 2019. The new organization’s Board of Directors will have equal representation from both of the previous organizations, and Fantozzi said that it will be “business as usual” as far as the marketplace is concerned. All logos, trademarks, and copyrights of PLIB, WCLIB, and AITC will be retained and continue to be used by producers on their products. He said most members of the respective organizations will continue paying the same dues levels they were paying previously, and for the most part they’ll continue working with the same staff members they’ve been working with.

The existing WCLIB headquarters office in Tigard, Oregon, which the bureau owns, will remain open as a satellite office until the building is sold.

Chinese Scientists Develop Green Jet Fuel

In March, it was announced that Chinese scientists had developed a means to convert plant scraps from agriculture and timber harvesting into high-quality jet fuel, which would help reduce CO2 emissions from airplanes and rockets.

The study, published in the journal Joule, demonstrated that a cheap, renewable, and abundant polymer in the plant’s cell walls can produce high-density aviation fuel.

“Our biofuel is important for mitigating CO2 emissions because it is derived from biomass, and it has higher density compared with conventional aviation fuels,” said co-author Li Nimng. That density translates into increased aircraft range and payload of aircraft with the same amount of fuel.

Montana's ForestsMontana’s Forests in Focus 2.0

Forests in Focus 2.0 was published by the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) and is similar to the Shared Stewardship concept recently signed in Idaho.

This new strategy charts a course for key stakeholders to collaboratively address Montana’s most pressing needs in forest health and wildfire risk across the state. Forests in Focus 2.0 brings partnering organizations together to propose one comprehensive plan for the state. It emphasizes better planning, a well-organized statewide collaborative effort, and scaling partnerships down to the local level.

This new effort was largely driven by the fact that over the past ten years, more than half of Montana’s forests have experienced insect and disease outbreaks of epidemic proportions. Of Montana’s 23 million acres of forested land, nearly 11 million acres have been affected by forest pests such as the mountain pine beetle, Douglas-fir beetle, and spruce budworm. Another 3 million acres have been impacted by root diseases.

California to Waive Environmental Rules for Fire Season Prep

California Gov. Gavin Newsom moved in March to bypass environmental regulations to prepare for the next wildfire season. He believes the step is necessary to prevent further loss of life. Newsom’s order will apply only to 35 projects covering nearly 141 square miles of land, allowing state fire officials to circumvent multiple state regulations.

“The increasing wildfire risks we face as a state mean we simply can’t wait until a fire starts in order to start deploying emergency resources,” Newsom said in a statement ahead of declaring a state of emergency.

Newsom also pledged $50 million for fire preparedness in low-income communities and asked the private sector to bring forward innovative proposals, reports the Associated Press.

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