IN THE NEWS
Bush Delays Road Building Decision
In September the Bush administration indicated that it
would put off its final decision on its plan to allow road
building and logging on 58 million acres of remote forests,
where both are now prohibited, until after the election.
Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey said the delay was
a "fairly straightforward" response to requests from a variety
of groups for more time, and said it was unrelated to the
Back in July, the administration said it was reversing Clintonís
2001 executive order that prohibited road construction
on nearly one-third of federal forestland.
Battle to Salvage Biscuit Fire
On August 31, a federal judge lifted injunctions barring
salvage logging of the Biscuit Fire that burned 50,000 acres
in southwest Oregon in 2003. But it appears the legal battle
isnít over. Although the U.S. Forest Service said logging "in
theory" could start now, lawyers for environmentalists say
they will try to stop logging pending an appeal.
A Forest Service forester in timber sales said most of the
trees already have been marked, and salvage could start in a
matter of days barring further injunctions. In some cases, cutting
could start immediately.
Explosion at Simpson Timber
On June 23, an air compressor explosion at a Simpson
Timber Company sawmill in Shelton, Wash., injured five
workers. The mill was forced to shut down temporarily for
repair. The estimated loss of production was 15-20 million
board feet, and a 20 x 20 foot building that housed the compressor
was also destroyed.
Southport Lumber to Build New Sawmill
Southport Lumber Company has indicated that it will
spend between $15 and $20 million on a sawmill that will
employ 65 individuals. The sawmill will be located at North
Spit in Coos Bay, Ore.
This comes after the Oregon International Port of Coos
Bay agreed to run a $5.5 million rail line to the spit, and the
arrival of natural gas.
The new mill should help out the area that has been in
and out of double-digit unemployment for more than 20
Greenpeace in Hot Water
Prosecutors in Alaska filed criminal charges against
Greenpeace for violating state environmental laws. The
Greenpeace boat Arctic Sunrise was sailing near Ketchikan to
protest logging activities, but entered Alaskan water without
the required oil spill prevention plan and proof of financial
The state alleges that when Greenpeace was notified of
the violations on July 14, the ship's agent agreed to remain
anchored until the situation was fixed. Instead, the Arctic
Sunrise left port that morning to go "joyriding in environmentally
sensitive areas during peak salmon runs, without
care or consideration for the catastrophic impacts that would
occur from failure to have the necessary resources to initiate
a response." The case goes to trial in October.
Timber Forest Products
Seattle contractor David Thompson plans to start a
specialized lumber-making company in Spokane this fall,
that he projects will employ 35 people by early 2005.
A Spokane native, Thompson has leased 40,000 square
feet of warehouse space in the Spokane Business & Industrial
Park, at 3808 N. Sullivan, for Timberlake Forest Products Inc.
Timberlake has invested about $800,000 in machinery for
the plant and will make finger-jointed framing lumber. To produce
it, the company will buy scrap lumber from Northwest
lumber mills and run the boards through a finger-jointing machine,
which will put sets of grooves at each end of the boards
so that they can be fit together snugly. The interlocking boards
then will be glued together to make 8-12 foot long lumber.
The company plans to sell its products to wholesale lumber
companies throughout the western U.S.
$24.7 Million to Weyerhaeuser
in Canadian Logging Reallocation
The British Columbia government has agreed to pay Weyerhaeuser
Co. $24.7 million (in U.S. currency) in a reallocation
of logging rights.
The agreement includes 32 square miles of timber licenses
and a reduction of 42 million cubic feet in logging allocations
It was reported that this is the first deal of its kind since
the government announced in March 2003 its plan to reallocate
20 percent of previously issued logging rights to make
more wood available on the open market and for Indian
tribes, community forests, woodlots and entrepreneurs.
The deal allows Weyerhaeuser to retain an annual harvest
level of 168 million cubic feet on government land and
continue logging in reallocated areas until they are returned
to the province.
Fuels Reduction on Track in 2004
August was the second anniversary of the Healthy Forests
Initiative (HFI). Mark Rey, Undersecretary of Agriculture
and Chairman of the Wildland Fire Leadership Council
(WFLC) announced that the administration was on track to
set a record in fuels reduction in 2004.
The WFLC released its report that details the progress
made in wildland fire management since President Bush
took office and describes how federal agencies using HFI and
the bipartisan Healthy Forests Restoration Act (HFRA) are
reducing wildfire risk.
The reported stated that since 2001 federal agencies have
treated 10 million acres, the same amount treated over the
previous eight years. Hazardous fuels have been removed
from 2.6 million acres, which is 97 percent of the 2004 goal.
A copy of the report " can be found at www.fireplan.gov
Purchase of Crown Pacific Sawmills
Lumber company International Forest Products plans to
purchase Crown Pacific Partners sawmill in Port Angeles,
Wash. The Canadian company, in an effort to expand operations
in Washington and Oregon, will pay $57.3 million and
provide $16 million in working capital to acquire the mill and
two other Crown Pacific mills, pending the U.S. bankruptcy
The 67,500 square-foot mill opened in 1998 at the cost of
$22 million. It employs 69 people and is considered a "swing
mill," able to cut lumber for either the Japanese or U.S. construction
service is temporarily unavailable