In The News

Washington State to Preserve, Reseed Two Million Acres by 2040

MyNorthwest reported that against a backdrop of severe fires, the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is looking to make a substantial investment in the state’s forests, pledging to preserve or restore 2 million acres of trees by 2040.

The purpose of the Keeping Washington Green project is to develop and preserve infrastructure that will allow the state to hold onto its forests and tree canopy, rural and urban. That includes funding and strategy to avoid deforestation, nursery development, and a number of technological investments to preserve and reseed the state’s forests.

“One million acres will require growing and planting 400 million trees,” Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz said in a press conference November 30. “That means going from producing 8.5 million seedlings every year to 20 million.”

Secure Rural Schools Payments Assured for Three More Years

The Association of O&C Counties (AOCC) praised the hard work of Senator Ron Wyden in connection with the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (SRS). SRS was reauthorized as part of the $1.2 trillion 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed by President Biden. 

“The SRS provisions in the much larger infrastructure bill originated in the Senate with great bipartisan support, and Senator Wyden was the lead sponsor. Senator Wyden made sure that SRS was included in the infrastructure bill and that it stayed there throughout the difficult congressional negotiations. Without his efforts, SRS would have been sidelined, and counties and schools would have come up short,” said Commissioner Tim Freeman of Douglas County, AOCC’s President.

More than 700 counties in 40 states rely on SRS funding to pay for vital county services.

U.S. Doubles Tariffs on Canadian Softwood Lumber and Contractors Expect Higher Prices

In November, the Biden administration’s U.S. Commerce Department followed through with anti-dumping and countervailing duties on Canadian softwood lumber producers, placing tariffs of 17.99 percent on their imports, reported the Engineering News-Record.

“These unjustified duties harm Canadian communities, businesses, and workers,” said Mary Ng, Canada’s minister of international trade, in a sharply worded statement. “They are also a tax on U.S. consumers, raising the costs of housing, renovations, and rentals at a time when housing affordability is already a significant concern for many.” 

However, U.S. lumber producers welcomed the stiffer penalties on what they have alleged for more than a decade was unfair competition due to government subsidies by Canada to its mills and producers.

“The U.S. Lumber Coalition strongly urges the administration to continue full trade law enforcement,” said Jason Brochu, chairman of the U.S. Lumber Coalition and co-president of Pleasant River Lumber Co. “More U.S. lumber being produced in America to meet domestic demand is a direct result of the enforcement. A level playing field is critical for the continued investment and growth of the domestic lumber industry and its hundreds of thousands of workers and thousands of communities across the United States.”

Sierra Pacific Acquires Seneca Sawmill and Its Four Oregon Plants

October 1, 2021, Sierra Pacific (SPI) completed the acquisition of Oregon-based Seneca Sawmill, bringing together two of the Pacific Northwest’s largest forest product businesses. Founded in 1953, Seneca Sawmill operates a 175,000-acre tree farm, four Oregon sawmills, and a biomass plant. Its combined output is approximately 650 million board feet of lumber annually.

Sierra Pacific owns and manages more than 2.1 million acres of timberland in California and Washington. It also manufactures millwork, windows, and renewable energy.

“Aaron Jones and Red Emmerson are both icons of the wood products industry. They were also friends and had a deep mutual respect for each other as industry leaders,” said Seneca CEO Todd Payne in reference to the founders of the respective companies. When the acquisition was announced in August, Payne said, “This proposed transfer makes so much sense given the companies provide complementary products and have shared family values and company culture.”

SPI appreciates the opportunity to continue the legacy started by Aaron Jones and carried on by the Jones sisters.

SPI President George Emmerson said, “The combined company brings together an outstanding team of people that will leverage our shared expertise in sustainable forest management and innovation in manufacturing, working together to provide quality lumber and wood products to the marketplace.”

TimberWest November/December 2013
January/February 2022

Photo taken by Andrea Watts of Pacific Logging and Processing

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