January and February 2006





Environmental Groups to Post Bond

In January Judge Donald Molloy told several environmental groups —Alliance for the Wild Rockies, the Ecology Center and the Native Ecosystem Alliance — that if they wanted him to issue a restraining order to stop a logging project near Butte, Mont., they were going to have to post a $100,000 bond. Should the groups lose the lawsuit and the litigation caused a delay and loss in timber value, they would forfeit the $100,000.

The timber industry believes this was a wise ruling that would make environmental groups think before filing a lawsuit.

Environmental groups, however, are worried this will set a precedent of limiting judicial recourse to the wealthy. They are appealing the decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.


G-P Sells Mill to Murphy Plywood

Georgia-Pacific sold its west Eugene, Ore. hardwood mill to Murphy Plywood, based in Sutherlin. The sale was completed in December and the mill reopened in January.

Murphy said his company is rehiring most of the employees who worked at the mill under Georgia-Pacific, but the workforce is expected to be about 250, down from 275 under Georgia-Pacific. However, wages are expected to remain the same, 20 percent expected to get raises and 20 percent expected to get pay cuts.


Weyerhaeuser Restructuring

There has been a lot of news coming from Weyerhaeuser. The company announced it was closing its Cosmopolis, Wash. pulp mill and the 81-year-old Aberdeen, Wash. sawmill. This is in addition to the closure of its veneer and plywood facility in Wright City, Okla., the Prince Albert pulp mill in Saskatchewan Province in Canada, and various corrugated converting plants in Ohio, New York, Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.

Chief executive officer Steve Rogel stated that it was “. . . part of an ongoing effort to strengthen Weyerhaeuser’s overall portfolio and enhance shareholder value.”

At the same time Weyerhaeuser has announced that it will launch a multimillion-dollar upgrade to its Longview, Wash. mill. It is just part of the $850 million being spent on company- wide capital improvements.


Lumber Duties Cut

The Commerce Department is complying with the NAFTA panel’s order to drastically cut U.S. duties on imported Canadian softwood. The countervailing duty will be assessed at a rate of 8.7 percent, down from the current 16.2 percent. The "all-other" anti-dumping rate fell to 2.1 percent from 4 percent. The combined rate of 10.8 percent is a serious drop from the previous collection rate of 20.2 percent.


Arsonists Named

In December six individuals were arrested in connection with several unsolved acts of "eco-terror" committed between 1998 and 2001 in Oregon and Washington. They included: Stanislas Meyerhoff and Daniel McGowan who were charged with the January 2001 arson at the Superior Lumber Company in Glendale, Ore., and the May 2001 arson at Jefferson Poplar Farms in Clatskanie, Ore.; McGowan along with Chelsea Gerlach were arrested in connection with destroying a Bonneville Power Administration electrical transmission tower in Bend, Ore. in December 1999; Kevin Tubbs and William Rodgers were charged with the June 1998 arson at the Animal and Plant and Health Inspection Services (APHIS) facility in Olympia, Wash.; Sarah Harvey was charged in connection with a December 1998 arson at U.S. Forest Industries in Medford, Ore. Charges carry federal penalties ranging from 20 years to life.


More Thinning in Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest

The Oregonian reported that the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in Southwest Oregon will be moving away from harvesting storied old-growth trees, and instead do more thinning of younger stands.

Harvesting virgin forests has become synonymous with lawsuits, and those lawsuits are draining funds from the projects. More cost-effective and less controversial, is thinning crowded, fire-prone forests.

The national forest "has thousands of acres that need treatments to improve forest health and reduce fire risk," says Forest Supervisor Scott Conroy.


9th Circuit Rules Against Lolo Salvage Project

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco overturned the ruling of a lower court rejecting the U.S. Forest Service's proposal to conduct a salvage project on 4,600 acres scattered throughout Montana's Lolo National Forest, 74,000 acres of which had burned during a 2000 wildfire.

The suit was initiated by the Ecology Center of Missoula, which claimed the Forest Service had inadequately considered impacts of the project on soils, old-growth trees, and two species of woodpeckers.

A December 18 editorial in a Missoula newspaper asks what kind of assurances the Ninth Circuit was looking for — pointing toward a 1,900-page EIS supported by 20,000 pages of documentation, which the Forest Service had compiled.


2004 Good Year for West Coast Mills

The Global Lumber/Sawnwood Coast Benchmarking Report 2004 reported that sawmills on the West Coast were the world's most profitable in 2004. Earning were on average three times that of overall global average earnings. In the number two spot were Australian mills, followed by those in BC’s Interior Region sawmills. The report was produced by International Wood Markets Research Inc., PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and the Beck Group.


New Mill for Simpson

In December it was reported that Simpson Timber Co. was purchasing 35 acres at the Port of Longview in Washington. Media reports indicate that the land is to be used for construction of a new sawmill. Although a company official stated there was no plan for construction of a mill, the acquisition did "represent an important step for us in considering this opportunity."


McCracken Leaves Us

Robert “Bob” McCracken, retired president and chairman of the board of Patrick Lumber Co. in Portland, Ore. died this past January after complications resulting from a surgery. He was 71 and will be missed by many.



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This page was last updated on Friday, June 16, 2006