March and April 2007

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In The News

 

Tri-Pro purchases Konkolville Mill

Tri-Pro Forest Products, based in Oldtown, Idaho, is purchasing the Konkolville lumber mill near Orofino, Idaho. The Konkolville mill, owned by the Merritt family, produces specialty products made from cedar, fir, larch and spruce.

 

EPA Rules on Gasoline

In early February, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) came out with rules that will dramatically cut toxic fumes from cars and trucks over the next 25 years.

The regulations will reduce the amount of cancer-causing benzene in gasoline and set stricter emission standards for autos in cold temperatures and for fuel containers. These changes are intended to help reduce toxic emissions from passenger cars by 80 percent from 1999 levels by 2030.

Benzene poses the second-largest cancer risk to American after diesel emissions. Benzene is naturally occurs in crude oil and is increased through refining to boost gasoline’s octane rating. In 2004 it constituted, on average, 1 percent of U.S. gas. The EPA wants to see that level drop to 0.62 percent under the new rule.

 

Washington Targets Bad Trucks

The Seattle Times reported that Washington state lawmakers would like to make it easier to shut down companies with bad trucks and reckless drivers. To-date companies operating solely inside Washington State avoid many federal truck-safety regulations. But if House Bill 1307 passes, the Washington State Patrol would have authority to monitor, inspect and penalize those carriers.

The legislation would require commercial vehicles operating only inside Washington, and weighing more than 26,000 pounds or carrying hazardous materials, to have U.S. Department of Transportation identification numbers. The numbers are already mandatory for commercial vehicles that cross state lines. The numbers would allow the State Patrol to track safety infractions and focus on companies with the worst safety records. The Patrol could also keep a company’s entire fleet off the road if they found unsafe or there are other violations.

The legislation came about as a result of an October 2005 accident that left two men dead. A logging truck dumped a load of logs onto the men’s car. The truck driver was on methamphetamines and driving an overloaded truck too fast intoa curve when the accident occurred.

 

Longview Fibre Buyout

Toronto-based, Brookfield Asset Management, is looking to purchase Longview Fibre for $1.6 billion — or $24.75 a share. The company will be adding 600,000 acres of trees (588,000 in Wash. and Ore.) and over a dozen forest-products plants to its portfolio. Brookfield will also be assuming approximately $518 million in debt.

 

Pacific Power Gets Into Woody Biomass

Portland-based, Pacific Power signed a purchase agreement with Evergreen BioPower for a new, 10- megawatt biomass generation facility located at Freres Lumber in Lyons, Ore. The facililty will employ approximately nine people and begin providing reliable renewable energy to the utility’s customers in late 2007.

The new facility will use woody biomass from the lumber manufacturing process. The biomass will be burned in a boiler to generate steam that will be used both in the lumber-drying process and to produce electricity for the surrounding area.

Pacific Power is working with various industry groups, including the Forest Biomass Work Group, Oregon Forest Resources Institute and Energy Trust of Oregon to identify other future opportunities.

 

Behind in Planting

Each year the Forest Service is falling further behind in replacing trees lost to fire, insects and disease. The cause is shrinking budgets and the rising costs of fire fighting.

In 2005 the Forest Service had a backlog of approximately 1.1 million acres needing to be replanted, but were only able to replant 153,000 acres. The Forest Service says the increased acreage in need of replanting is mostly attributable to major fires in the West since 2000, but acknowledges a steady decline in replanting since 1990.

In an attempt to close the gap, groups and businesses are donating money and seedlings. In October, 2006 Enterprise Rent-A-Car, working with the National Arbor Day Foundation, pledged 1 million trees a year for the next 50 years. Earlier this year, Ikea, paired with American Forests, another conservation group, to plant 300,000 trees.

Forest Service Chief, Dale Bosworth says donations like these accounted for 12 percent of reforestation spending in 2004. “I’d like to double that over time,” he says.

 

Mill Opens in Fort Hill

Steve Killgore is opening Cascade Structural Laminators in Fort Hill, Ore. Killgore’s family has worked in the woods for generations, and he has over 30 years experience in sales, production and finance at companies like Bohemia and Weyerhaeuser. He formed Eugenebased, Cascade Structural Laminators two years ago. And the company recently leased land at the former Fort Hill Lumber site. He also also bought a boiler, dry kilns and a planer from Hampton Lumber. The mill was up and running in January.


First Woman as U.S. Forest Service Chief

Montana forester Gail Kimbell became the first woman to head the U.S. Forest Service, an its 16th Chief, when she replaced retiring chief Dale Bosworth.

Kimbell, who supervises national forests throughout northern Idaho, Montana and the Dakotas, was appointed to the position by Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, and will become the Forest Service’s 16th chief. Bosworth, a career forester who became chief in April 2001, will step down within a few weeks.

 

Idaho’s Roadless Plan Moving Forward

U.S. Agricultural Secretary, Mike Johanns, accepted Idaho’s proposed management plan for 9.3 million acres of federal roadless areas within the national forests. The proposed plan limits development on 3.1 million acres, allows temporary road-building on 5.5 million (only to the extent that it had already been allowed) and opens 500,000 acres to logging and road-building.

 

 

TW

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This page was last updated on Wednesday, April 25, 2007