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In The News
Idaho Moves for an Age Exemption for Family Members
In May, Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho) introduced the Future Logging Careers Act (HR 4590) to exempt loggers’ family members — ages 16 and 17 — from the Fair Labor Standards Act, which currently prohibits employing anyone under 18 in logging. The bill excludes the manual use of chain saws for felling and processing timber as well as operating cable skidders, which are not considered operations in a mechanized timber harvesting operation.
The FRA reported, “Many in our industry have pointed out that the Fair Labor Standards Act’s current prohibition against employing anyone under 18 in logging work has created strong disincentives for motivated family members to obtain the kind of apprenticeship they need to prepare for a generational transfer of a logging business—an often-cited factor in declining logging capacity. Many also doubt whether logging’s “hazardous” conditions, from which the Fair Labor Standards Act is mandated to protect minor children, realistically extends to work within enclosed cabs.
Streamlined Process to Log At-Risk Federal Forestland
In May, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced action to help 94 national forest areas in 35 states address insect and disease threats that weaken forests and increase the risk of forest fires. These areas are receiving an official designation that will provide the Forest Service (working collaboratively with stakeholders) additional tools and flexibility to more efficiently plan and accomplish restoration treatments in those areas.
Vilsack announced the designations in Denver where he discussed additional efforts to help better prepare for and combat the threat of wildfire.
“USDA and the Forest Service are working to improve the health of our national forests and reduce the risk of forest fire,” said Vilsack. “The designations announced today, made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill, will support the Forest Service’s ability to work with partners to restore areas within the National Forest System that have been impacted by insects and disease.”
In Oregon, Gov. John Kitzhaber requested and received the designation for 5.7 million acres within the Wallowa-Whitman, Umatilla, Malheur, Fremont-Winema and Rogue River Siskiyou national forests.
In Idaho, Gov. Butch Otter successfully proposed 50 treatment areas covering more than 1.8 million acres in the Idaho Panhandle, Nez Perce Clearwater, Salmon Challis, Payette, Sawtooth and Caribou Targhee national forests.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee delayed his request as he convenes with stakeholders but intends to send a request at a later date.
China Imported Logs and Lumber for a Record $9 billion in 2013
Importation of logs and lumber to China reached a new record in 2013 with lumber imports being up 19 percent and log imports increasing 23 percent from 2012, as reported in the Wood Resource Quarterly. North America, Russia and New Zealand were the major supplying countries but Sweden, Finland, Ukraine, Chile and Australia saw the biggest increases in market share.
Louisiana-Pacific Takeover of Ainsworth Lumber Cancelled
Louisiana-Pacific called off its $1.1-billion deal to buy Ainsworth Lumber Co. after regulators required significant asset sales.
The companies said they walked away from the agreement after determining that approval under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvement Act in the U.S. and the Canadian Competition Act could not be obtained “without divestitures significantly beyond those contemplated.’’
Lumber, log and stumpage prices in Washington
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