Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: April 27, 2012

Froggy Foibles

Tree pollen mistaken for apocalypse

Windsor Star
April 27, 2012
Category: Froggy Foibles

Russia’s weather and emergency officials soothed fears of Moscow residents Thursday with statements that green-tinged clouds over the capital were not an alien invasion, but tree pollen. The clouds crept up on the Russian capital from the south in the morning. Komsomolskaya Pravda tabloid headlined its story “Could it be that the apocalypse is upon us?”… “But this dust is pollen from alder and birch trees, which began flowering recently after a slow spring.” 

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Business & Politics

Norbord Reports First Quarter 2012 Results

Canada News Wire press release
April 27, 2012
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

TORONTO – Norbord Inc. today reported EBITDA of $21 million in the first quarter of 2012, a $12 million improvement from the fourth quarter of 2011 and a $7 million improvement from the same quarter last year. North American operations generated EBITDA of $14 million in the first quarter of 2012 versus $2 million and $7 million in the fourth and first quarters of 2011, respectively. European operations generated EBITDA of $11 million in the first quarters of 2012 and 2011 versus $10 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.

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Avrim Lazar on the forest industry’s new markets

Globe and Mail
April 26, 2012
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

Avrim Lazar was a senior Ottawa mandarin in the Ministry of the Environment in 2002 when he made the leap to become CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada. The industry was booming in those days, aided by a 65-cent Canadian dollar that made its products cheap in the United States. But a rising loonie and a collapse in U.S. housing construction then sent the sector into crisis. In recent years, Lazar, 64, has worked with companies and the federal government to improve the industry’s environmental performance and to expand export markets in Asia.

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No criminality to Lakeland blast

Prince George Citizen
April 26, 2012
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The explosion at Lakeland Sawmill has been deemed a non-criminal event by the RCMP. The criminal aspect of the investigation has been closed. According to Prince George RCMP spokesman Cpl. Craig Douglass, the next phase of the investigation can now begin. It will be under the auspices of the BC Coroners’ Service but conducted on the ground by WorksafeBC, the BC Safety Authority and Prince George Fire / Rescue.

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Mill was considering safety upgrades before fatal blast

Globe and Mail
April 27, 2012
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Lakeland Mills Ltd. was looking to upgrade its safety equipment to reduce the risk of a sawdust-fuelled explosion but hadn’t yet decided how to proceed when a blast, eerily similar to one at another company’s mill in January, killed two workers and destroyed Lakeland’s Prince George mill this week. While it had not yet installed new equipment, Lakeland had added staff to the mill-cleaning crew and reviewed cleanup guidelines as part of an ad-hoc response from the forest industry in recent weeks to the January blast that levelled the mill at Burns Lake. However, the B.C. government waited until the second catastrophe this week to issue provincewide guidelines, inspection regimes, deadlines and, possibly, new regulations.

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Worker killed in BC mill explosion had an eye for safety

BY GORDON HOEKSTRA
Vancouver Sun
April 27, 2012
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

A doting dad who built an outdoor rink every winter for his son, Glenn Francis Roche had an eye for safety at the Lakeland Mills sawmill where he worked for nearly three decades. Roche had been concerned about an explosion that blew up a sawmill in nearby Burns Lake, B.C., in January — where workers cited dust levels from milling dry, beetle-killed timber as a potential catalyst — enough so that he warned fellow workers to keep the mill clean. Roche, 46, was himself meticulous, always parking his polished pickup truck well away from the other workers’ vehicles so it didn’t get scratched.

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WorkSafeBC responds to mill safety concerns

By Ruth Lloyd
Caledonia Courier
April 27, 2012
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

WorkSafeBC issued a directive to all sawmill employers on April 26. The directive orders all sawmills in BC ‘without undue delay” to: “undertake a comprehensive risk assessment with respect to hazards created by combustible dusts, which assessment must include a thorough inspection of the employer’s facility, and develop and implement an effective combustible dust control program based on the risk assessment.”

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Tolko Industries to review lumber mill safety

Kamloops Daily News
April 26, 2012
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Tolko Industries Ltd. is complying with a WorkSafeBC mill review in wake of the Lakeland Mills explosion as well as conducting independent reviews of its eight Interior mills.? ?Bob Fleet, Tolko’s vice-president of environment and forestry said the company already has a “rigid program of monthly housekeeping and safety inspections” to control dust from beetle-killed timber.? ? Inspectors do not have answers yet for the cause of the explosion that killed two men at the Prince George mill blast, nor another deadly blast in January at a Burns Lake mill explosion.? ?

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BC sawmill towns on edge over dust buildup that’s suspect in two explosions

Canadian Press
April 26, 2012
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER – Workers heading to shifts at British Columbia sawmills after two recent, catastrophic explosions are worrying that the dust fluttering in the air like a sack of dropped flour means they’re walking into a powder keg. Four deaths and scores of traumatic burns and injuries have resulted from the fiery conflagrations at the north-central mills, which were processing trees so destroyed by the mountain pine beetle they were long dead before harvest. The independent agency that looks after worker safety ordered Thursday that B.C.’s 300 or so mills immediately get a grip on any dust problems.

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Close to 250 Lakeland Mills employees to be unemployed

Prince George Free Press
April 26, 2012
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Lakeland Mills employees will be paid up to the end of the week and then they will be unemployed, need to file for Employment Insurance or find other employment. Frank Everitt, United Steelworkers Local 1-424 president and city councillor said this affects not only the 150 hourly workers but managers, supervisors and support staff. There will be a rippling effect on the sales department, he added, as well as loggers and chip harvesters.

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Canfor to spend $40 million on mill upgrades in B.C. Kootenay region

Canadian Press
April 26, 2012
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER – Canfor Corp. said Thursday it will spend $40 million on capital improvement projects at its sawmills in B.C.’s Kootenay region. The company plans to spend $38.5 million on a new planer, a biomass energy system and modifications to the existing sawmill in Radium Hot Springs, B.C. The balance will be invested at the company’s Canal Flats sawmill to improve drying capacity. “These investments are critical to support the restart of our Radium division, which was indefinitely closed in May 2009,” Canfor president and chief executive Don Kayne said. The work at the Radium mill will start next month with start up at the operation expected in the fourth quarter.

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Raise the price for burning wood

By Dave Lewis, letter to the editor
Victoria Times Colonist
April 27, 2012
Category: Business & Politics, Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Re: “Pine-beetle plan short on action,” April 24… There is a simple solution, but there is not the support from the urban population to enact it. By increasing the price that B.C. Hydro pays for power generated from thermal plants that utilize pinebeetle-killed wood, companies would invest in the development of such energy plants and there would be an economic ability to pay for the harvest and reforestation of the land mentioned in the editorial.

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Mill explosions ‘new territory’ for B.C.’s beetle-ravaged forest industry

By GORDON HAMILTON
Vancouver Sun
April 26, 2012
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Sawmill explosions in the B.C. Interior have thrown the province’s forest industry into turmoil, raising concerns that the mountain pine beetle’s damage to the sector may be entering a new and more deadly phase. The potential for dry beetle-killed wood to pose a safety hazard comes at a time when the industry is struggling to cope with pine beetle impact. … “We are in new territory,” said John Allan, president of the B.C. Council of Forest Industries. “These two mills blew up. They just didn’t catch fire. “The beetle has infected every aspect of the business,” Allan said Thursday.

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Tembec reviewing lumber, high-yield pulp businesses amid weak Q2 results

By Ross Marowits
Canadian Press
April 26, 2012
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

MONTREAL – Tembec says a special board committee is considering the future of its lumber and high-yield pulp businesses which continue to struggle in the face of weak market conditions. Chief executive James Lopez said the Montreal-based producer has to decide whether to invest up to $60 million in its lumber facilities or pursue alternatives. “We’re not announcing that we’re spinning off the lumber business or selling or anything like that today, but all those things are up for review,” he said Thursday during a conference call after posting disappointing quarterly results.

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Radium sawmill to reopen

Invermere Valley Echo
April 27, 2012
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, US West, Canada West

Rumours have been flying for months, but on April 26 Canfor confirmed that the Radium sawmill will reopen later this year. A total of $38.5 million is to be invested in the mill beginning in May 2012, and funding will cover construction of a new planer facility, the installation of a biomass energy system and modifications to the existing sawmill. The mill is expected to reopen sometime in the fall or winter. Also included is the news that a further $1.5 million will be spent to improve drying capacity at the Canal Flats mill, acquired by Canfor from Tembec in November 2011.

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Improved softwood-lumber demand in Switzerland

EUWID Wood Products and Panels
April 26, 2012
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Since the beginning of April, Swiss softwood sawmills have shown a revival in demand from building companies and to a lesser extent from the pallet and packaging industry. However, in view of the positive figures for the Swiss building industry, such as the year-on-year rise of 12.5% in residential building approvals in the fourth quarter of 2011, a stronger revival in lumber demand had been expected in the first quarter, but the cold snap in February and the high level of building activity at the end of 2011 resulted in a slight decline in Swiss building business in the first quarter of 2012.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Helping Northern Ontario’s forestry sector

North Bay Nipissing
April 27, 2012
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

The plight of the forestry sector in Northern Ontario over the past few years has been well documented. That’s why it was very pleasing that my very first Private Members’ Bill — Bill 52 — the Ontario Forestry Industry Revitalization Act, passed Second Reading in the Legislature on April 19 with rare unanimous consent in a voice vote. It aims to amend the Ontario Building Code to allow for wood frame construction to be used in mid-rise buildings up to six stories, instead of the current four stories. It would boost the amount of wood harvested in Northern Ontario to be used in residential construction and provide a real boost to the forestry industry, which has been left staggered over the past decade.

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Net Zero Certified: Two Buildings That Make More Energy Than They Use

Thomas Net Industrial News
April 26, 2012
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

We green building enthusiasts get excited about the vision of the net zero energy building — a structure that is energy-self-sufficient, using design and technology to harvest what it needs without any assistance from fossil fuels or the electrical grid. I’ve heard of projects that claim to be net zero energy, but without having access to their data and design details, how can you judge such claims?..  That’s the problem that led to the development of a third-party standard, Net Zero Energy Building Certification, released in late 2011 by the International Living Future Institute.

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Forestry

Crown lands belong to the public, not government

Province has a responsibility to steward land for people’s benefit
Victoria Times Colonist
April 27, 2012
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

British Columbians are once again being treated to increased controversy about the management of our Crown land forests – whether it is the decreased role of the chief forester, new threats to remove land from forest reserves or the privatization of the forests themselves. It is important to remember that the notion of Crown land and not selling off the forest-land base goes back to the very beginnings of land allocation in British Columbia. The principle of public ownership of B.C.’s forest was firmly established by the House of Assembly before B.C. became a province.

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BCTS operations near Mackenzie pass audit

BC Forest Practices Board press release
April 26, 2012
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

VICTORIA – An audit of BC Timber Sales and 24 timber sale licensees in the Mackenzie District north of Prince George found that forest planning, silviculture, fire protection, harvesting and road activities were mostly in compliance with legislation, according to a report released today. “Auditors found that one bridge and a short section of road were constructed in a manner that could have an impact on fish habitat,” said board chair Al Gorley. “However, BCTS made immediate remediation efforts, and the board is satisfied with that.”

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Crews battle fire in Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Forest

CBC.ca
April 26, 2012
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A fire that started in Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Forest this afternoon has been brought under control, according to fire officials. Firefighters were called to the forest at around 12:30 p.m. CT Thursday, but they had difficulty getting water hoses to the blaze, which is in the middle of the trees off Shaftesbury Boulevard. As of 5 p.m., crews are in the process of cleaning up hot spots, assistant fire chief Bill Clark said in an email.

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Habitat issues for local wolves

Tofino-Ucluelet Westerly News
April 26, 2012
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Imagine walking into a grocery store and all the shelves and aisles are barren and bleak. Where has the food gone? Would you return to that store or would you look for your groceries elsewhere? This is what it is like for the terrestrial wildlife of our coast when they are in some forests that were harvested between the 1950s and 1980s, using historical methods like clearcutting. Many of these areas, like parts of the Kennedy Flats, were later replanted as second-growth forests with Douglas-fir. Unfortunately, Douglasfir is better suited to well drained soils and is considered offsite and ecologically inappropriate for most of the Kennedy Flats.

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Getting out of the woods

April 27, 2012
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

…All owned by Hodgson’s Chipping Ltd. and all going up for auction on May 1 at the Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers auction house in Debert, along with the company’s 30 transport trucks. The four Hodgson brothers who ran one of the largest harvesters and chippers of wood fibre in the province, producing 300,000 tonnes annually, are getting out. Before hopping on a plane to Edmonton on Tuesday, bound for a job as a mechanic, one of them offered a warning to the province’s pulp and paper industry. “In my opinion, we can’t supply three pulp mills in this province,” said Vaughn Hodgson. “With my background, my opinion should count for something. We’ve overcut.”

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Texas Forest Service to unveil wildfire app

Associated Press
April 27, 2012
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

AUSTIN, Texas – Texans will be armed with a new Internet tool this wildfire season designed to help anyone spot their wildfire risk and how to respond to it. The Texas Forest Service on Friday unveiled the new app, the Texas Wildfire Risk Assessment Portal, or TxWRAP, on the steps of the state Capitol. It uses mapping technology to allow not just emergency response officials but homeowners and the general public to spot acute wildfire risk within a 2-mile radius of where they live. The projections are based on climate and topology factors that could make fire likely.

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Nova Scotia Silviculture Contractors’ Association resurrected

Truro Daily News
April 26, 2012
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

TRURO – An organization giving a strong voice to silviculture contractors is coming out of hibernation. After nearly five years of silence, the Nova Scotia Silviculture Contractors’ Association, founded about 25 years ago, was officially resurrected this week during a meeting held in Truro. “As a result of all the body blows the forestry industry has taken in the last few years, the silviculture contractors and all of their employees have sort of been the group within the industry that hasn’t been talked about,” said newly elected president David McMillan. “But of course they have paid an economic price along with everyone else in terms of work and so on.”

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Vilsack: Federal government prepared for wildfire season

CattleNetwork.com
April 26, 2012
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

WASHINGTON – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar today outlined the federal government’s readiness for the wildland fire season to ensure protection for communities and restoration of forests and public lands across the country. The Secretaries were joined by FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell and National Predictive Services Program Manager of the National Interagency Fire Center Ed Delgado. The Secretaries described federal capability to respond to wildfires that are becoming more complex, particularly in areas where urban populations are situated near forested and rangeland areas.

Additional article from the Associated Press

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Colorado could be facing severe wildfire season

Summit County Citizens Voice
April 27, 2012
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Top federal officials highlighted the western slope of the Rocky Mountains — including Colorad0 — as an area that may be at risk of severe wildfires this summer and said they are working closely with state and local authorities to prepare for the potential threat. So far this year, wildfires have burned only about a third of the acreage compared to the same time period last year. “We are ready to meet the challenge,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

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Forest officials propose harvesting timber from beetle-killed trees west of Creede

The Republic
April 27, 2012
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

CREEDE, Colo. — Rio Grande National Forest officials are proposing harvesting timber from beetle-killed trees about 15 miles west of Creede. District Ranger Tom Malecek says the goal is to salvage dead trees for commercial use while jumpstarting new tree growth. Forest officials have written a draft environmental analysis of the proposed project. 

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Wildfire burns at least 1500 acres in Michigan

Associated Press
April 26, 2012
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Authorities say a Michigan wildfire that’s burned at least 1,500 acres and forced the evacuation of about 50 homes has been fully contained.  WWTV/WWUP reports ( http://bit.ly/ITkL6p) the fire is burning near Mack Lake in Oscoda County’s Mentor Township, in the area of the Huron National Forest. The U.S. Forest Service says the fire was 100 percent contained by midmorning Thursday.

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Medical University of South Carolina to become arboretum

Charleston Post Courier
April 27, 2012
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Trees, like medicine, can help people feel better, says Medical University of South Carolina arborist Nate Dubosh… The university chose today, which is Arbor Day, to kick off its plans to become an arboretum. By Arbor Day 2013, it hopes to become the fifth South Carolina campus to be designated a Tree Campus USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation. 

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Costa Rican forest helps Jewett City pair be more green

Norwich Bulletin
April 27, 2012
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Griswold, Conn. — A Jewett City couple’s Costa Rican forest is helping them save the planet.
Six years ago, shortly before their wedding, Marc and Dorla Barres donated $3,500 to have a forest planted in their name in Costa Rica. The 1-hectare (or 2.5-acre) forest soaks up 25 tons of carbon dioxide per year…  The trees planted in each forest are native mahogany and New Guinea klinki trees, known for their dense, fast growth.

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Gram sabhas now hold key to projects in forest lands

Times of India
April 27, 2012
Category: Forestry
Region: International

NEW DELHI: More than two years after the environment and forests ministry ordered so, the statutory Forest Advisory Committee (FAC), which gives green nod to divert forests for projects, decided that it would not entertain proposals until resolutions from affected gram sabhas favouring the projects are submitted. …The act, UPA-I’s flagship legislation for improving the condition of tribals, requires government to recognize and hand over rights to traditional forest dwellers in forestlands across the country.

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Brazil Forestry Bill Will Lead to More Felling, Greenpeace Says

Bloomberg
April 26, 2012
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Brazil, which hosts 13 percent of the world’s forests, passed a bill last night that may lead to a culture of non-compliance with environmental law by providing amnesty for some farmers that illegally cut trees, according to Greenpeace Brasil. The legislation, which was approved in a 274-184 vote, creates a precedent by demonstrating to farmers that they will be forgiven for future misdemeanors, Marcelo Furtado, executive director of Sao Paulo-based environmental organization Greenpeace Brasil, said today in a telephone interview.

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Cambodian police shoot dead leading anti-logging campaigner

Environmental activist Chut Wutty reportedly shot dead at police checkpoint after refusing to hand over evidence of illegal logging
The Guardian
April 26, 2012
Category: Forestry
Region: International

A prominent Cambodian anti-logging activist, who helped expose a secretive state sell-off of national parks, has been shot dead by police in a remote south-western province while guiding journalists to the scene of illegal logging. A Cambodian human rights organisation, Licadho, said the confrontation occurred on Wednesday when Chut Wutty, director of the Phnom Penh-based environmental watchdog Natural Resource Protection Group, refused to hand over a memory card with photos taken in the nearby forest by him and two journalists from the Cambodia Daily newspaper.

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More than 220 forest fires spread across Nepal

BBC News
April 26, 2012
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Forest fires have broken out in 225 places across Nepal, officials say, with some communities in remote areas struggling to control the flames. Officials say that the fires – some of which have been burning since March – are caused by a long dry spell, discarded cigarettes and windy weather. One such blaze in the mid-west of the country has destroyed 600 hectares (1,482 acres) of forest, officials say. Forest fires in Nepal peak during the pre-monsoon dry months.

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Discovery of new species spurs conservation efforts

BusinessWorld Online Edition
April 26, 2012
Category: Forestry
Region: International

TACLOBAN CITY — Recent discovery of two new species of frogs and 229 floral species on Mt. Nacolod in Southern Leyte has led to intensified efforts to rehabilitate natural forests and conserve biodiversity in the area. Purificacion M. Daloos, regional information officer of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Eastern Visayas, said the discovery of new flora and fauna in the forests of Mt. Nacolod has pushed the government to enhance its environmental protection program in the region.

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No budging on forestry peace deadline

ABC News, Australia
April 27, 2012
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The Federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke, is stepping up pressure on signatories to the forest peace deal to finalise the boundaries of new reserves. The deadline for the forests reserve bill to be tabled in State Parliament is June 30. The environmental and industry groups are trying to decide which of the 572,000 hectares of native forest nominated for protection under the peace deal should go into reserves. The Minister has met the peace deal signatories and the Premier Lara Giddings in Hobart to discuss the progress of the talks.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Sawmill Explosions Linked to Climate Change

Care2.com (blog)
April 27, 2012
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Beetle kill has ravaged forests in B.C. and beyond. The supply of green wood has been replaced by standing dead trees left behind as beetles move on to new food supplies. As the dry trees are milled, the quantity of sawdust increases and along with it the possibility of explosions.

WorkSafeBC’s response has been to take the unprecedented step of “issuing orders to all sawmill employers in B.C., directing them to conduct a full hazard identification, risk assessment, and safety review, with particular focus on combustible dust; dust accumulation; and potential ignition sources.”

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Raise the price for burning wood

By Dave Lewis, letter to the editor
Victoria Times Colonist
April 27, 2012
Category: Business & Politics, Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Re: “Pine-beetle plan short on action,” April 24… There is a simple solution, but there is not the support from the urban population to enact it. By increasing the price that B.C. Hydro pays for power generated from thermal plants that utilize pinebeetle-killed wood, companies would invest in the development of such energy plants and there would be an economic ability to pay for the harvest and reforestation of the land mentioned in the editorial.

Read More

General

Helping Northern Ontario’s forestry sector

North Bay Nipissing
April 27, 2012
Category: Uncategorized

The plight of the forestry sector in Northern Ontario over the past few years has been well documented. That’s why it was very pleasing that my very first Private Members’ Bill — Bill 52 — the Ontario Forestry Industry Revitalization Act, passed Second Reading in the Legislature on April 19 with rare unanimous consent in a voice vote… Bill 52 will create jobs and growth in Northern communities while reducing construction costs and help Southern Ontario meet targets to reduce urban sprawl.

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Forest officials propose harvesting timber from beetle-killed trees west of Creede

Associated Press
April 27, 2012
Category: Uncategorized

CREEDE, Colo. — Rio Grande National Forest officials are proposing harvesting timber from beetle-killed trees about 15 miles west of Creede. District Ranger Tom Malecek says the goal is to salvage dead trees for commercial use while jumpstarting new tree growth. Forest officials have written a draft environmental analysis of the proposed project.

Read More