October/November, 2001

 

 

 

 

In The News

12.57% Duty Imposed
On October 31, the U.S. Department of Commerce
ruled that Canada is dumping lumber into the U.S. market
at prices below its production costs and a preliminary
12.57 percent antidumping duty has gone into effect. The
Commerce Department's decision is in response to an
April 2 petition filed by the U.S. lumber industry.
"This ruling confirms that Canadian producers,
encouraged by provincial government policies that
require them to operate irrespective of market conditions,
dump lumber into the U.S. market," said Rusty Wood,
Chairman of the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports and
President of Tolleson Lumber Company of Perry, GA.
For the timber industry, this is welcome news, however
many are not cheering - one of those being the
National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). They
feel the duty will hurt the housing industry at a time
when the economy is fighting to avoid a recession. And
that the duty will add $1,500 to the cost of a new home.
It is no surprise that Canadians are also angry with the
decision. "Thousands of jobs have been lost already and
thousands more will be lost unless our two nations find a
way to resolve this dispute once and for all," said John
Allan, President of the BC Lumber Trade Council. "The US
lumber industry is making a mockery of the greatest and
most mutually beneficial trading relationship in the world."

Fire Stats
This year's fire season wasn't as destructive as the
2000 season, but still there was significant timber loss.
Below is the scorched acreage tally for 2001 compiled by
the National Interagency Fire Center.
January 1 to September 27, 2001 by State:

State Fires  Acres
AK   343 222,285
CA   7,668 293,716
ID   1,566 369,006
MT   1,412 125,137
OR   3,011 383,766
WA   1,209 237,820
TOTAL   15,209 1,631,730


The grand total for all U.S. states combined was 62,706
fires and 3,227,578 acres.

Logging in Alaska's Roadless Areas
The U.S. Forest Service, in the hopes of stimulating
Southeast Alaska's timber industry, is preparing a plan to
log as many as 37 million board feet of timber in what
would be defined as roadless areas.
The proposed timber sale on Gravian Island, scheduled
to be decided by early next year, would allow construction
of as many as 22 miles of roads and make way
for limited industrial development.
A decision to log on the Island would be the first roadless-
area timber sale since Clinton's sweeping protections
were expanded to include the Tongass. A federal judge in
Idaho suspended that policy last May, and the Bush
administration issued an interim directive that calls for
the head of the Forest Service to approve development in
most roadless areas on a case-by-case basis.

California: "Old-Growth" Protection
This fall you will be seeing less old growth coming out of
California. On September 12, the California Board of
Forestry voted to adopt a rule that would prohibit the harvest
of any tree on private land in the state germinated
before 1800 without a state-approved environmental review.
The regulation was apparently passed to head off a
ballot referendum which would prohibit all harvest of
trees dating from before 1850.

Up in Smoke
The U.S. Forest Service (FS) will overspend its firefighting
budget by approximately $203 million this year, causing
the agency to halt millions of dollars in building projects
and purchases to make up the shortfall. It is the first
time the FS has had to delay public projects due to firefighting
expenses.
Ironically, this over-spending comes during a relatively
light season - as far as number of acres burned - and
also during the same year that Congress sent the FS $1.9
billion dollars in order to bolster fire fighting ranks and
reduce fire hazards.
The FS states that Congress gave them money to prepare
crews and equipment, but not extra funds to battle
fires, which is paid from a separate account.
Historically, the Forest Service has dipped into a
reserve fund of logging revenue to make up shortfalls.
With the halt to logging in the national forests, the funds
are no longer there for the taking.
Blazes were attacked quickly and aggressively on the
ground and in the air in order to keep them from spreading.
This plan of action drove up initial costs.

Changes After Thirtymile Fire
U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service Chief Dale
Bosworth, after reviewing the final investigative report on
the Thirtymile Fire, vowed changes would be made.
"The loss of these four firefighters is a tragedy that we
must learn from," Chief Bosworth said during a morning
news conference. "We have had experts inside and outside
the agency gather facts, review them and make recommendations.
From these, I expect to initiate changes in management
and policy that will make fighting fires a safer business."
A few of the recommendations given to Bosworth for
consideration include: 
o Ensuring fire managers and firefighters
are fully aware of the fire situation and have the necessary
decision-making abilities. 
o Developing a program to counter the effects of fatigue. 
o Strengthening command and
control performance of agency administrators and fire managers.
o Clarifying the relationship between the Endangered
Species Act and fire suppression actions to establish a coherent
process that accounts for ESA requirements with respect
to the full range of fire suppression activities.

"Make no mistake," Chief Bosworth said, "these deaths
and injuries affect me very personally. My heart is with
their families, friends and co-workers. I will take whatever
steps are necessary to ensure that everything possible is
done to enhance the safety of our firefighters."

Forest Service in Breach
The U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, DC
recently issued a ruling which may weaken the U.S. Forest
Service's "suspension authority" - isolating itself from
damages related to delays of timber sale operations due to
environmental injunctions.
The Court found the Forest Service liable for a lumber
company having to suspend operations for 467 days due to
"consultations" required by court order over Mexican spotted
owl.
According to the summary by the law firm Saltman &
Stevens, " . . . the Fish and Wildlife Service engaged in protracted
consultations that should have been completed
before the Forest Service sold the sales (or at least prior to
scheduled operations). . . . The court specifically found that
the Forest Service breached its duties to cooperate and not to
hinder the company's performance."

Boise Cascade Certifies 480,000 Acres
In October, Boise Cascade announced an independent,
third-party audit had certified approximately 480,000 acres
of timberland located in the company's Washington region.
The auditor, Pricewaterhouse, certified Boise Cascade's full
conformance with the American Forest & Paper Association's
(AF&PA) Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFISM) Program
standards and confirmed conformance with the company's
own Forest Stewardship Values and Measures.

Logging Approved in Some Spotted Owl Habitats
This past September, Washington State Public Land
Commissioner Doug Sutherland moved to allow logging in
some spotted owl habitat.
But he also decided to postpone action in "spotted owl circles"
in Southwest Washington, where the owl population is
considered most fragile. The department will also start talks
on owl protection with major timber companies.
"It is not our intention to clear-cut Southwest
Washington," said Sutherland at a Board of Natural
Resources meeting.
Even with Sutherland's decision, it will be several more
months before the board is asked to approve any timber sales
from the 258,053 acres of owl circles in Western Washington.

   This service is temporarily unavailable

 

 

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