Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: February 1, 2012

Business & Politics

Sentiment turns positive on commodities: Scotiabank

Victoria Times Colonist
January 31, 2012
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

OTTAWA — Commodities entered 2012 on more positive footing after the eurozone debt crisis sent resource prices into sharp retreat in the latter half of 2011, Scotiabank said Tuesday. …Stronger prices for lumber and oriented strand board more than offset lower pulp prices, while in the agriculture sector, stronger prices for cattle, barley and lobster more than offset a slight decline in wheat and hog prices.

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Bowater cuts pulpwood pay by 10%

CBC News
January 31, 2012
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

The Bowater Mersey paper mill has imposed a ten per cent cut in the price it pays for wood harvested from private lands. Andrew Fedora, the executive director of the Federation of Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners, said the price cut was effective Monday — from $36 a tonne to $32.50 a tonne. “We’ve seen a drop in pulpwood by roughly 10 per cent,” Fedora told CBC News on Tuesday.

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The Conservatives’ uneasy policy shift on China

By John Ivison
National Post
February 1, 2012
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

The Prime Minister travels to Beijing early next week, where he will be received much more warmly than in the days when the Conservatives were the party of principled opposition to the Chinese government’s more oppressive excesses. Back in Opposition in 2005, now-Immigration Minister Jason Kenney stood in Beijing and called China a “totalitarian one-party state. “It continues to have forced labour camps. It continues to deny freedom of religion and freedom of expression,” he said.

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Sino-Forest’s independent investigation ends without definitive conclusions

By ANDY HOFFMAN AND TIM KILADZE
Globe and Mail
February 1, 2012
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

After a seven month investigation costing more than $35-million, an independent committee probing fraud allegations against Sino-Forest Corp. has failed to provide definitive answers about the Chinese timber company’s business practices and accounting. The committee has, however, identified at least two timber purchases that appear to be undisclosed related-party transactions conducted by what was once the most valuable forestry company on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

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Sino-Forest hit with new suit

BY PETER KOVEN
Financial Post
February 1, 2012
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

Beleaguered forestry firm Sino-Forest Corp. has been slapped with a new class action lawsuit out of the United States that accuses it of multiple acts of fraud. The case, which was filed by Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, is targeting potential plaintiffs who bought Sino-Forest shares on the over-the-counter (OTC) market in the United States. In addition to the company itself, the defendants include senior management, auditor Ernst & Young LLP, and underwriters Bank of America and Credit Suisse. Sino has already been sued multiple times in Canada, and earlier this month, an Ontario judge awarded “carriage” of the Sino class action litigation to Siskinds LLP and Koskie Minsky LLP.

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Sino-Forest Releases Final Report of the Independent Committee

By SINO-FOREST CORP
4-traders (press release)
January 31, 2012
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

TORONTO, CANADA – Sino-Forest Corporation today announced that it is publicly releasing the Final Report of the Independent Committee of the Company’s Board of Directors (the “IC”). Establishment of the Independent Committee On June 2, 2011, in response to a report issued by Muddy Waters, LLC, the Board of Directors appointed a committee of independent directors to examine the allegations in the MW Report, and report back to the Board of Directors. 

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Sino report can’t refute many fraud allegations

by Peter Koven
National Post
February 1, 2012
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

The independent committee of scandal-plagued Sino-Forest Corp. has delivered its final report, but has failed to refute key allegations of fraud against the company.  Investors hoped that the report, released late Tuesday, would conclusively determine what happened at the beleaguered Chinese forestry firm. Instead, the committee acknowledged that it was unable to unwind all of the company’s complex third-party relationships to determine if they were improper. It said that much of the needed information lies with “non-compellable third parties, may not exist or is apparently not retrievable from the records of the company.”  The committee did conduct some work that determined Sino’s stated tree ownership in two separate regions was within 6% of the “net stocked area forest cover.”

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Northern Health update on injured Babine Forest Products sawmill …

(author unknown)
January 31, 2012
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

There is still a number of patients receiving treatment in hospitals across B.C. and Alberta following the Jan. 20, 2012 explosion and fire at Babine Forest Products. Nineteen people were injured in the accident. According to Northern Health, one patient was transferred from St. John’s hospital in Vanderhoof to the University Hospital of Northern B.C. (UHNBC) in Prince George last week.

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Burns Lake sawmill fires not likely linked

CBC News
January 31, 2012
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The BC Safety Authority says a fire last year at a Burns Lake, B.C., sawmill is not likely linked to the fatal fire that destroyed the mill earlier this month. BCSA spokesperson Stephen Hinde says a February 2011 fire at Babine Forest Products was probably caused by an electrical malfunction, which caused an electrical switch to spark, igniting sawdust.

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No test for explosive risk made after earlier blast at Burns Lake mill

Globe and Mail
January 31, 2012
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Burns Lake sawmill leveled by a massive fiery blast on Jan. 20 was the site of a sawdust-fuelled explosion nearly a year earlier, but WorkSafe BC officials did not test for explosive risk during a November inspection that found unhealthy concentrations of airborne sawdust. WorkSafe BC officials say they were aware of a report from the B.C. Safety Authority that was released on Tuesday containing the details of the February, 2011, incident at the Babine Forest Products mill. The report said the buildup of unusually dry sawdust in and on equipment fed a small dust explosion, which in turn set sawdust on the floor ablaze. The explosion was triggered by a faulty switch for a band saw motor.

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Investigators say Burns Lake sawmill blaze unlikely to be linked to earlier fire

The Province
January 31, 2012
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The explosion that levelled the Burns Lake sawmill two weeks ago, killing two and injuring 19, is not likely related to a Feb. 2011 fire at the mill, which caused $500, 000 worth of damage, according to the B.C. Safety Authority. In an incident report released Tuesday, the BCSA had concluded that the Feb. 23, 2011 electrical fire was most likely caused by a fuse failure in a bandsaw switch, which resulted in a small explosion that ignited “unusually” dry saw dust.

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Sawdust ignited costly fire last year at BC sawmill destroyed by explosion

The Tyee
January 31, 2012
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER – Two separate safety monitoring agencies flagged sawdust as a concern at a northern British Columbia sawmill that exploded, but it doesn’t appear they shared the information about the potential hazard. Dry dust particles played a role in igniting and fuelling an electrical fire that resulted in a half million dollars worth of damage last February at Babine Forest Products in Burns Lake, west of Prince George, the B.C. Safety Authority said in an incident report.

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Hampton optimistic about the future of Burns Lake’s Babine Forest Products

Burns Lake Lakes District News
February 1, 2012
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Steve Zika, Hampton Affiliates chief executive officer said to Lakes District News last week that he remains optimistic that Babine Forest Products will be rebuilt.  Hampton Affiliates owns a majority share in the local mill that was devastated by an explosion and fire on Jan. 20, 2012.  Zika said to Lakes District News that the mill is insured for its replacement cost and while Zika said he can’t elaborate on the details of the insurance policy, he said that generally the policy covers the cost of rebuilding the mill or alternatively a [cash] payout.  He said the insurance company’s assessors arrived in Burns Lake last week, but he added that he is unsure of how much access to the site they have at this point. He said Worksafe B.C. have control over the site.

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Catalyst woes may threaten pensions after company files for creditor protection

Alberni Valley Times
February 1, 2012
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Retired Port Alberni mill workers who agreed to bridging pensions in good faith could see those funds vanish in the swirling vortex of Catalyst Paper’s financial woes, a local official contends.  The B.C. forest industry suffered another blow yesterday when Catalyst Paper Corporation officials announced the company is filing for creditor protection.  The terms and conditions of the restructuring plan have not yet been determined.

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Fortress Paper to relaunch Domtar plant as rayon-pulp mill

Globe and Mail
January 31, 2012
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Fortress Paper Ltd. (FTP-T37.80-1.62-4.11%) plans to transform yet another old Quebec forest-products mill into a facility that makes pulp used in the production of rayon instead of paper. The Vancouver-based company said Tuesday it has struck a deal – valued at $232.7-million – to relaunch Domtar Corp. (UFS-T89.322.562.95%)’s old pulp mill in Lebel-sur-Quévillon, in Quebec’s Abitibi region. The Quebec government is providing a $132.4-million, 10-year loan through its agency Investissement Québec. Fortress president and chief executive officer Chad Wasilenkoff made the announcement in the town, accompanied by Quebec Premier Jean Charest, who touted the project as part of his massive economic development plan for northern Quebec, dubbed Plan Nord.

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Jobs being cut at Corner Brook mill

The Western Star
February 1, 2012
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Meetings are still happening but word is that job cuts are being announced at Corner Brook Pulp and Paper this morning. Meetings between the company and unionized workers at Corner Brook Pulp and Paper have started, but word is coming out already that some jobs are being cut.  Sources have told The Western Star that the first union to be called in for a meeting Wednesday morning was informed some jobs under its umbrella will be removed from the operation.

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Survey Provides Snapshot of US Pallet Industry

Pallet Enterprise
February 1, 2012
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

Having experienced a number of ups and down over the recent years, the pallet industry has been in flux with the move of the overall economy. Seeking to get a snapshot of the current state of the industry, researchers from Virginia Tech have conducted an industry survey. It aimed to foster increased understanding of the U.S. wooden pallet industry and its supply chain. This survey was completed last summer and included a mail survey of about 1,500 wood pallet manufacturers and recyclers. 

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Bryan Green to visit woodchip buyers in Asia

ABC N
February 1, 2012
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, International

The Tasmanian Premier has revealed her Deputy, Bryan Green, will fly to Japan and China to drum up markets for native woodchips.  Lara Giddings’ announcement trumped an invitation from the Liberal leader, Will Hodgman, for her to join him on an urgent trade mission to rebuild the timber industry.  Mr Hodgman says other states have no trouble selling native woodchips.  “There is a real political issue here. The Greens have trashed our markets and I want to join with the Premier and rebuild them.”

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China is Now the World’s Largest Importer of Softwood Lumber and Logs

By Wood Resources International 
MarketWatch (press release)
January 31, 2012
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

SEATTLE — Reduced activities in the housing construction sector in China decreased importation of softwood logs and lumber in late 2011, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly. Despite the decline in the 4Q, total imports during 2011 reached a record high, making China the largest importer of logs and lumber in the world. Importation of softwood logs and lumber to China has increased continuously over the past 15 years, and in 2011 the country was the largest importer of softwood lumber and logs in the world, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly. 

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Workers fight sawmill shutdown

ABC News, Australia
February 1, 2012
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Sawmiller McKay’s Timber will face an emergency industrial hearing into what the forestry union is calling a breach of the company’s workforce agreement.  McKay’s Timber has stood down 30 workers from its Bridgewater and St Helens mills after Artec shut down its Bell Bay woodchip mill for a month.  The closure means there is no outlet for McKay’s woodchips.  The forestry union applied for Fair Work Australia intervention because it says the company failed to consult workers before standing them down.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Ford to use kenaf plant inside doors of new Escape, saving weight and energy

National Post
February 1, 2012
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, United States

As part of its overall effort to make vehicles more sustainable, Ford is making the material inside the door — known as the bolster — in part from kenaf. Kenaf is a tropical plant that looks similar to bamboo and is related to cotton. The plant replaces oil-based materials inside the doors of the Escape. …“Kenaf and the other renewable materials in the Escape have made the vehicle more environmentally friendly and fuel efficient,” says Laura Sinclair, materials engineer for the Escape.

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Pupils get their first lessons in the new Beattock Primary School

Dumfries and Galloway Standard
February 1, 2012
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International
IT is a new year, new school for Beattock pupils. The youngsters are enjoying their first lessons in the £2.6 million purpose-built school at Craigielands after moving in for the first time last week. …Designed by the council’s in-house architecture and engineering division, DGDesign, and built by the council’s contracting arm, DGFirst, it has been constructed using an innovative cross-laminated timber frame and features renewable energy systems including solar thermal panels, photovoltaic panels, a biomass boiler and rainwater harvesting.

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Forestry

Alberta launches legal action against logging protesters

The Tyee
January 31, 2012
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Government enforcement actions against citizens opposed to logging in a world famous Alberta watershed will likely cost taxpayers more money than total timber revenue. “This is clearly an example of government waste,” says Gord Petersen, a local resident and member of the ad hoc Stop the Castle Logging Group. “The Alberta government has responded with a massive enforcement effort against mostly senior citizens trying to respect water and wildlife,” adds Petersen.

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Slight increase to cut for Tree Farm Licence 41

Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (press release)
January 31, 2012
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

VICTORIA – The allowable annual cut for Tree Farm Licence 41 increases slightly by four per cent to 128,000 cubic metres effective immediately, chief forester Jim Snetsinger announced today. Tree farm licence 41, owned by Skeena Sawmills Ltd. is about 40 kilometres south of Terrace and covers 201,939 hectares, with 31,558 hectares suitable for timber harvesting. The majority of the forest is coastal western hemlock.

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Quebec’s Plan Nord draws opposition: critics, conservationists want debate on $80-billion project

Montreal Gazette
January 31, 2012
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

The debate over Quebec’s Plan Nord came to Montreal Monday, where a provincial cabinet minister defended the plan from accusations it is little more than a marketing strategy aimed at selling off the province’s natural resources at a discount to foreign companies. The Plan Nord is Quebec’s vision for the future development of more than 70 per cent of the province. Under the plan, announced last May, more than $80 billion in public and private money is to be invested in the region over the next 25 years in energy development, forestry, mining, transportation and tourism.

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Oregon timber industry group files lawsuit over marbled murrelet habitat designations

By Eric Mortenson
The Oregonian
January 30, 2012
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The marbled murrelet may be hard to detect in west coast forests, but lawsuits over its fate have found nesting grounds in the courts.  A Portland timber industry group filed a lawsuit alleging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wrongfully designated millions of unsuitable acres as critical marbled murrelet habitat. Tom Partin, president of the American Forest Resource Council, said the agency designated land that not only isn’t being used by the bird now, but doesn’t have the old forest characteristics murrelets prefer.  The agency cannot “tie up currently unsuitable land hoping it turns into habitat that will support an endangered species,” Partin said in a prepared statement. “That’s like the government denying you a building permit because it hopes someday your neighborhood will become a city park.”

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‘Ex-foes aim for common ground on Idaho forests’

Environmentalists, timber executives, scientists and others converge on Boise to begin the hard part of their forest collaboration work.
Idaho Statesman
January 31, 2012
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The easy work for former adversaries in the Idaho timber wars was to start talking and develop trust.  Now those environmentalists, foresters and loggers are testing the strong relationships they’ve forged in collaborative efforts state-wide. The Idaho Forest Restoration Partnership is tackling the hard issues about how much timber can be cut and thinned to restore healthy forests, and how that will be paid for.  “So much of it comes down to what we are leaving behind,” said Jonathan Oppenheimer, senior associate for the Idaho Conservation League. “More and more, we’re having these discussions.”

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Quote of the day – Redding.com Blogs: Bruce Ross’ blog

The Record Searchlight
January 28, 2012
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Faced with unprecedented threats from industrial development, these national forests need strong national protections.  So Jane Danowitz, U.S. public lands director for the Pew Environment Group, tells the AP for a story about the release of the new Forest Service planning rule.  No offense to people who love trees, but what on Earth is she talking about? Best as I can tell the forests of the West are as safe from threat of industrial development as they’ve been in the history of the national forest system.  Did I miss something?

END

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SC Forestry Commission working fire in Horry County

SCNow
January 31, 2012
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

MYRTLE BEACH,SC- The South Carolina Forestry Commission is fighting a fire in Horry County. The fire is burning near Highway 430 and North Nichols Highway. Three units are trying to keep the fire under control. Nearly 12 to 15 acres of land is burning according to a press release from the South Carolina Forestry Commission. No structures are threatened. No word yet on the cause of the fire.

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Hunt for tiny, sap-sucking tree-killer expands to MDI

Bangor Daily News
January 31, 2012
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Staff from the Maine Forest Service will be on Mount Desert Island this week searching for additional infestations of a tiny, sap-sucking bug that is wiping out hemlock groves up and down the East Coast. The hemlock woolly adelgid — an invasive insect from Asia — has expanded its presence in Maine over the past five years and is now approaching areas Down East where hemlock trees are a common and ecologically important species.

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Lawmakers back restoring forestry jobs

Baxter Bulletin
February 1, 2012
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

LITTLE ROCK (AP) — A legislative panel voted Tuesday to restore 20 firefighting jobs to the financially troubled Arkansas Forestry Commission, but it remains unclear how lawmakers plan to pay for the positions. The Joint Budget Committee voted to include the proposal in the commission’s proposed budget bill being drafted for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The commission laid off 34 employees earlier this month to close a $4 million shortfall.

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Pythons are eating all the Everglades’ animals

Ottawa Citizen
January 31, 2012
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

A slithering, surging population of Burmese pythons in the Florida Everglades, many of them escaped or abandoned pets, appears to be eating its way through many animals native to the sensitive wetlands, according to a study. Researchers writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science found what they characterized as “severe declines” in the population of small and mid-sized native mammals in the huge national park and linked it to the growing presence of Burmese pythons. The study, the first to document the ecological effects of the invasive species on the Everglades, was released on Monda

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Timber company hits back at environmentalists

ABC News Australia
January 31, 2012
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Tasmanian timber company Ta Ann says anti-logging campaigners are ruining its international reputation with claims it processes old growth timber.

[This is a radio story – the link will open steaming online radio]

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Is Canada’s energy strategy short-sighted?

iPolitics
January 31, 2012
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

Two important speeches, delivered within days of each other last week, provide an interesting contrast in approaches to the critical issue of energy. What they tell us about how we deal with energy points to some important choices and tradeoffs we face as a country. First, Prime Minister Harper’s address to the global economic and political hoi polloi at Davos offered to audiences a message now familiar to Canadians: It will be a ”national priority to ensure we have the capacity to export our energy products beyond the United States and specifically to Asia”.  

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Scientists Challenging Climate Science Appear to Flunk Climate Economics

New York Times (blog)
January 31, 2012
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

An op-ed article signed by 16 scientists rejecting the need for “drastic action to decarbonize the world’s economy,” published Friday by the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, has been widely and thoroughly fact-checked and challenged elsewhere. The Journal has published a rebuttal op-ed piece from a long list of climate scientists under the headlin “Check With Climate Scientists for Views on Climate.” Peter Frumhoff of the Union of Concerned Scientists criticizes their take on the science in a piece titled, “Dismal Science at The Wall Street Journal.”

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Wichita company can turn biomass waste into fuel

Wichita Eagle
January 31, 2012
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Ever wonder how to take advantage of that enormous pile of wood chips? Not a question that many around here have, but in some places, such as Quebec or Idaho, it can make perfect sense. Alternative Energy Solutions International of Wichita sells biomass gasification boilers to factories and schools in places such as that.

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Giving ethanol a good name: Advocates tout increase in production, jobs for state

Wisconsin State Journal
January 31, 2012
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

MONROE — Eric Huschitt is tired of the bad rap that plagues the ethanol industry.
For instance, the general manager and vice president of operations at Badger State Ethanol that sits on the edge of Monroe is aware that the expiration of the federal ethanol tax credit at the end of 2011 was one of those rare subjects that liberals and conservatives came together to support. “Who got that tax credit?” Huschitt asked before answering that the companies that blend the corn-based ethanol with gasoline received that 45-cents-a-gallon tax credit. Ethanol production plants like Badger State didn’t get a dime.

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Georgians on the hook for failed ethanol facility

Atlanta Journal Constitution
February 1, 2012
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Range Fuels, the failed wood-to-ethanol factory in southeastern Georgia that cost taxpayers $70 million, was sold Tuesday for pennies on the dollar. Its buyer is a company that is backed by the same man who bankrolled and helped secure government loans for Range Fuels before it went bust last year. California entrepreneur Vinod Khosla is the main financial backer of LanzaTech, the New Zealand-based biofuel company that paid $5.1 million Tuesday for the plant in Soperton.

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Sea cucumber poo protecting coral reefs: scientists

ABC News Australia
February 1, 2012
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Scientists have found the humble sea cucumber can play an important role in protecting coral reefs from the impacts of climate change. A team from the University of Sydney has been studying the sea cucumber – also known as the bêche de mer – around One Tree Island off the central Queensland coast.

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General

Obama’s Forest Service Weakens National Forest Wildlife …

Celsias.com
January 30, 2012
Category: Uncategorised

The U.S. Forest Service released a new proposal Thursday for the nation’s 193-million-acre national forest system that will weaken rules protecting fish and wildlife from logging, livestock grazing, mining and off-road vehicles. The new proposal, which was released as part of the final environmental impact statement for the rule, is the Forest Service’s fourth attempt since 2000 to revise nationwide regulations governing national forests. …“This rule is a step up from the Bush rule, but its protections are still a far cry from Reagan-era regulations that the Forest Service has been trying to weaken for 12 years,” said Taylor McKinnon, public lands campaigns director at the Center.

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