May/June, 2002





In The News

27 Percent Tariff
In March, the Commerce Department made its final
determination of the Canadian tariff levels, but the tariff
could not go into effect until May 2, when the ITC made
its final determination that U.S. lumber producers were
suffering damage.
The agency set two duties averaging 27 percent for most
Canadian lumber producers - an 18.8 percent duty to punish
Canada for the subsidies and a second tariff averaging
8.4 percent for dumping.
John A. Ragosta, a Washington attorney representing
U.S. lumber producers, was reported in USA Today as
hailing the ITC decision, saying the higher tariffs should
provide some relief to the U.S. industry. The USA article
stated that "U.S. companies estimate that nearly 100,000
jobs had been lost and over 100 U.S. lumber mills closed
over the past three years because of a surge in Canadian
The Canadian international trade minister, however,
called the duties "obscene" and U.S. homebuilders are
opposing the duties because they estimate it will add $1,500
to the cost of new homes.
However, because of a technicality, Canadian softwood
lumber producers have been allowed to ship to the U.S.
market without paying duties for at least five weeks beginning
April 22.
The five-week window has caused lumber prices to drop
as companies fear Canadian producers will use the technicality
as an opportunity to flood the market with a wall of

Boise Changes Name and Harvesting Policy
Boise will no longer be known as Boise Cascade and it
will no longer harvest old growth lumber.
Boise Cascade Corp. has changed its trade name to
Boise and has renamed its three businesses as well. Its
office products business is now Boise Office Solutions,
while its paper division is now Boise Paper Solutions and
its timber, wood products and building material business
is now Boise Building Solutions. Company officials say
the new brand identities will better reflect the company's
The more significant change, however, is its decision to
end harvesting of old-growth forests (trees over 200 years
and in stands of 5,000 acres or more). The company says
old-growth timber plays such a small part in paper and
wood products production that it will stop logging ancient
trees in two years.

U.S. Loses 45 Sawmills in 2 Years
A staggering 45 U.S. sawmills have shut down for good
during the past two years, according to a census of permanent
sawmill closures published by the news service Forestweb.
Along with the closures was a withdrawal of 2.5 billion
board feet of production during those two years and a loss
of 4,500 in-plant jobs, Forestweb stated. It found that most
closures were associated with restructuring, industry consolidation,
economic downturn and federal timber withdrawal.
Although grim, the news wasn't all bad. Viewed with the
recent strong housing numbers and the likelihood of an economic
recovery, one analyst predicted sustained recovery in
lumber markets this spring, beyond just the normal seasonal

Industry Attempts to Reclaim Land
Timber industry groups including the Western Council
of Industrial Workers, the American Forest Resource
Council, Swanson Group, Inc. and Rough & Ready Lumber
Co. recently filed lawsuits stating that millions of acres of
land declared critical habitat for threatened northern spotted
owls and marbled murrelets do not require that status
for the species' survival.
The timber groups are asking that the critical habitat designation
be removed, clearing away "a biological bureaucracy"
that holds up timber sales. Land managers would no
longer have to consult wildlife biologists every time they
had projects in owl and murrelet lands.
Besides freeing up the land, the suit also asks the federal
court to review the two species to see if they are still covered
under the Endangered Species Act.
Speaking for the other side of the issue, Mitch Friedman
of the Northwest Ecosystem Alliance in Bellingham, Wash.,
stated: "The only people who think this is still about owls
versus jobs are the dinosaurs who filed that lawsuit."

Georgia-Pacific Splitting Up Businesses
Georgia-Pacific Corp. (GP) plans to split itself into two
companies - separating its building products business
from its consumer products business - according to a presentation
being made to its board this month.
The plan doesn't come as too much of a shock. Two
months ago it had proposed to sell its building products
unit to Willamette Industries, before the latter was acquired
by Weyerhaeuser.
Most of the details of the plan, such as how the more
than $12 billion in debt will be divided, have yet to be disclosed.
One analyst thought that, because much of GP's debt
relates to its acquisition in 2000 of Fort James Corp. (which
made it the world's largest tissue maker), the separated consumer
products business would probably be left to take care
of it.

Critical Habitat Designation Rescinded
The National Marine Fisheries Service agreed in March
to rescind the designation of critical habitat for 19 pacific
salmon and steelhead populations listed under the ESA,
reports the AF&PA. The agreement helped settle a lawsuit,
National Association of Homebuilders vs. Evans, which
challenged the designation.

WWPA Reports Slight Ease in Lumber Production 
The Western Wood Products Association (WWPA) of Portland, Ore. expects western lumber production to dip slightly in 2002 due to a temporary lull in new home construction. The WWPA's April 18 report stated that "the strength of the housing market during 2001's economic slump created little pent-up demand normally associated with recessions. Consequently, new single-family home starts are forecast to remain about even with 2001, at 1.25 million units, while multifamily housing starts are expected to decline 6 percent in 2002." 

Despite the slowdown in housing, production at Western lumber mills is predicted to drop just one percent to 16.6 billion board feet in 2002. Coast production is expected to increase to 9.1 billion board feet while Inland mills will see production dip to 6.4 billion board feet. And production in the California Redwood region is forecast to fall significantly. Overall, U.S. lumber production is anticipated to decline 1.5 percent to 34.4 billion board feet. 

Bobcat Purchases Bobcat 
Bobcat West has finalized an agreement with Smith Tractor & Equipment Company to purchase the assets of the five dealerships of Bobcat Northwest equipment sales and service locations in Western and Central Washington. "We are currently finalizing the acquisition and will convert the former Bobcat Northwest stores to our Bobcat West network," says Chris Wetle, president of Bobcat West. "Bobcat (News Continued from page 12) West is extremely excited to add Western Washington and additional stores in Central Washington to our existing 12 locations. This purchase makes Bobcat West one of the largest Bobcat dealers in the nation." 

Seattle Sees Forests First Hand 
This past Memorial Day weekend more than 220,000 urbanites in the Puget Sound area got a chance to see firsthand what's happening in today's forests at the Northwest Folklife Festival. Because of the ever-growing gap between the urban and rural segments, the forest products industry said yes when approached about sponsoring activities. They saw it as a chance to help bring the two sides of Washington state together. In a statement made prior to the festival, Cindy Mitchell, director of communications for the Washington Forest Protection Association said, "Without the participation of the forest products industry, NW Folklife might simply have looked at forestry from only a historical perspective. Instead, people are also going to get a contemporary view of our timberlands. We want people to see how private landowners practice sustainable forestry." 

Besides forestry activities and events, the Washington Forest Protection Association and the Washington Farm Forestry Association had booths featuring Washington's Working Forests, focusing on sustainable forestry and the forest management cycle. "We're pleased to have the opportunity to work with NW Folklife," Mitchell said. "It is important both for the forest products industry and timber communities that people in Seattle and the Puget Sound area know about sound forest management practices." The NW Folklife festival is the largest of its kind in the nation. Approximately a quarter of a million people attend the festival annually - primarily from King County, Washington. Hopefully, this year a few bridges were made

   This service is temporarily unavailable



This page was last updated on Tuesday, September 28, 2004