Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: January 17, 2014

Business & Politics

Clark orders review of Burns Lake sawmill explosion

The Globe and Mail
January 16, 2014
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

A WorkSafeBC investigation found ample evidence that combustible wood dust was creating a powder keg in a Burns Lake sawmill before it exploded in early 2012, killing two and injuring 20 in an accident the agency deemed “preventable.” But there will be no penalties for the operators of the mill in the village about 220 kilometres west of Prince George because the Crown says WorkSafeBC’s investigation was so badly flawed – a situation that has prompted Premier Christy Clark to order a review into what happened.

Christy Clark orders ‘urgent’ review of decision not to lay charges in fatal Burns Lake explosion

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‘It was horrendous’: Quotes from workers attest to safety risks at ill-fated B.C. sawmill

The Globe and Mail
January 16, 2014
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The 2012 explosion at a Burns Lake, B.C., sawmill that killed two workers and wounded 20 others was a “preventable incident” according to a detailed report released Thursday by WorkSafeBC. A section of the report quoting workers and supervisors sheds light on the conditions: “The dust in the mill was bad. … When we’re running [dust was] in the air, and then it would settle in the basement … the dust was worse down there.”

WorkSafeBC report says fatal mill explosion could have been prevented from The Canadian Press
Worksafe BC Investigation Report Excerpts from The Vancouver Sun

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Oil patch workers are coming back to the North Island

HQ Comox Valley
January 16, 2014
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The local logging industry is doing so well it is luring workers back to the Island from the oil patch. Don Banasky, vice president of the Truck Loggers Association, says he has a stack of resumes on his desk form oil rig workers looking to get into logging. “People that are applying are local people; their homes have been or still are in the North Island, Port Alice, Campbell River and all points in between,” says Banasky. “Some of the positions that we have available are in those northern communities.” He says they are expecting a lot of growth in the logging industry in the coming years.

BC forest industry aims to attract oil-patch workers from The Province

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Forest industry poised for an upturn

The Prince Albert Daily Herald
January 16, 2014
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

A spot of new forest industry layoffs isn’t indicative of an economic downturn, Carrier Lumber Inc. president Bill Kordyban said — quite the opposite. “There is less supply and more demand, which translates into higher prices,” he summarized. About a dozen people will be left out of work after the company’s Prince Albert saw mill closes on Jan. 24 — a temporary measure that Kordyban said is a result of a combination of factors, of which none are related to the marketplace.

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TLA Panel 1 – The Super Cycle Approaches

Reporting from the Convention – Kelly McCloskey
Tree Frog News
January 17, 2014
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Industry forecasters and practitioners provided a range of perspectives on key product markets and the (pending) Super-Cycle. Most agree that a period of higher prices is imminent but it won’t be realized until economic recovery in the US housing market occurs. Unfortunately, that isn’t expected until 2015. The lower Canadian dollar helps exporters, particularly for solid wood products, but pulp and paper needs lower costs to compete and bleached Eucalyptus kraft pulp will dominate. Market diversification was also noted as being important but log exports are and will continue to be an important economic component. [END STORY]

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Premiers Luncheon

Reporting from the Conference – Kelly McCloskey
Tree Frog News
January 17, 2014
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

A sold out crowd of more that 360 participants, including 15 MLAs, were on hand for the Premier’s Luncheon — the conference’s foremost event. Speaking strongly and proudly of the role the forest sector plays in the success of the province, the Premier emphasized the importance of “getting to yes” on resource development and “balanced budgets” by government. Priorities for her government include opening new markets, skills training and worker safety. On the recent decision of Crown Council not to pursue charges in the Burns Lake fire case, the Premier has asked her Deputy Minister John Dyble, to review it for lessons learned.  She noted that for justice to be done, it “must also be seen to be done”. [END STORY]

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TLA Panel 3 – The Challenges Facing Contractors

Reporting from the Convention – Kelly McCloskey
Tree Frog News
January 17, 2014
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Don Banasky spoke about the importance of linking safety and production to achieve profits. He noted the importance of re-branding safety to keep it fresh, the need to be “risk managers” and the importance of speaking up and encouraging questions. Dwight Yochim spoke about the Labour Market Initiative which estimates a requirement of 5000 coastal forest workers by 2020 (assuming no growth).  Training programs are needed with industry standards, adequate funding and industry/government cooperation. Ross Stryvoke spoke about the pending labour negotiations, which start in a few weeks. The Interior settlements suggest a potential cost increase of 16.8% over five years.  His advice for contractors was to have good communication with their employees and be prepared to explain the consequences of a costly settlement. [END STORY]

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Eleven Forestry Deaths in 2013, But Upward Trend Noted

250 News
January 16, 2014
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Prince George, B.C.- There has been no change in the number of fatalities in the forestry sector in 2013, compared to 2012. Both years saw eleven workers die on the job. That is the latest word from the BC Forest Safety Council, which has issued an advisory. The advisory notes the deaths of four truck drivers, and three equipment operators last year, is an increase for those particular professions within the sector when compared to 2012. The BC Forest Safety Council says although the total number of deaths in forestry in 2013 is unchanged from 2012, the industry is noting an upward trend and is taking steps to address it.

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WorkSafeBC readying Lakeland Mills report

Globe and Mail
January 17, 2014
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

With its investigative techniques under fire over its handling of the Babine sawmill explosion, WorkSafeBC is just weeks away from delivering a report to the Criminal Justice Branch on a second deadly sawmill blast.  The investigation into the explosion at the Lakeland Mills plant in Prince George in April, 2012, is largely complete. Jeff Dolan, director of WorkSafeBC’s investigations division, is now wondering how to word the report in light of what he says are an entirely new set of rules from criminal justice.

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2014 seen as transition year for B.C. economy

Province lags national growth now, but should ramp up along with export buildup, say economists at Board of Trade event
Vancouver Sun
January 16, 2014
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

… The provincial economy will be helped along by other Canadian exports shipped through B.C. to emerging economies such as China, which are expected to be the key drivers of global economic growth. The importance of exports was also a theme of Premier Christy Clark’s Thursday address to the Truck Loggers Association convention in Vancouver Thursday. She said the forest industry is beginning to cash in on her government’s trade missions to Asia, citing a more-than-13-per-cent increase in exports of softwood lumber to China in 2013 compared to the previous year.

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B.C. premier says Asian trade missions are boosting forestry sector

CTV News
January 16, 2014
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER – Premier Christy Clark says British Columbia’s forest industry is beginning to cash in on her government’s trade missions to Asia. Clark has told an annual gathering of the Truck Loggers Association in Vancouver that B.C. exported $1.27 billion of softwood lumber to China between January and end of November 2013. She says that’s a new record and a 13 per cent increase in exports over the previous year.

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TLA Panel 2 – Survivors in the Logging Sector

Reporting from the Convention – Kelly McCloskey
Tree Frog News
January 17, 2014
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Five veterans of of the BC logging sector responded to questions from Jim Girvan about how they survived the global recession and what new entrants need to do to succeed in the future. All agreed that good relations with their banks/financial backers, a strong balance sheet and good business plan were key. Survival points included good machine maintenance, knowing their costs well and keeping their workers safe. All felt that contractor rates are still at recession levels and will have to increase to ensure they can reinvest and survive the next downturn. Almost all agreed that if they were 35 they “would do it all again” and their advice to new entrants included “be savvy, optimize your company size, stay hands-on and be good negotiators. [END STORY]

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Get together on safety rules

Victoria Times Colonist
January 16, 2014
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Whether you are roofing a house in Colwood or felling trees on Haida Gwaii, you count on WorkSafe B.C. to make sure your job is as safe as possible. WorkSafe has to enforce safety regulations at more than 500,000 workplaces and bring people to book if they put others in danger by flouting the law.  Working people and employers all over B.C. need to know why the agency’s investigation of the Babine Forest Products mill explosion got a failing mark from Crown prosecutors. ..If Crown prosecutors and WorkSafe aren’t communicating, if investigators don’t understand the rules of evidence, the government needs to fix the problem.

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Minister of Forests Breakfast

Reporting from the Convention – Kelly McCloskey
Tree Frog News
January 17, 2014
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Minister Steve Thomson noted his appreciation for the TLA’s work to propose solutions and creating industry collectives like the Council of Forest Contractors.  His Ministry’s achievements over the past year include meeting the target increase BCTS sales (of 500,000 m3), promoting market expansion in China and Japan and focusing on upgrading the provinces forest inventory. Going forward priorities include completing Phase II of the BCTS review (by John Allan), continuing the discussion over area-based management (although not the legislation required to proceed) and reducing red tape to help the sector recover. Commenting that “one fatality is one-too-many”, Minister Thomson emphasized the importance of worker safety and training to fill the coming shortfall in skills training. [END STORY]

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Mill’s green status in jeopardy

Environmental-sustainability audit finds problems at Port Hawkesbury Paper
Chronicle Herald
January 16, 2014
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

An audit of Port Hawkesbury Paper has exposed problems with how the Cape Breton paper mill manages woodlands. The recent Forest Stewardship Council audit found four major non-conformance issues and four minor ones. The council is an independent certification body that promotes sustainable forestry. After five major  non-conformances, a forestry company would have its environmental-sustainability certificate immediately suspended.

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Missoula jury awards man nearly $4M for injuries

Helena Independent Record
January 16, 2014
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

A Montana jury has awarded nearly $4 million to a man and his wife over injuries he received in 2008 while unloading logs at a pulp mill. The Missoula County jury deliberated two hours Wednesday before delivering its verdict that Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. and a subsidiary owed Allen Ginn and his wife, Laurie, that much for medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering and the loss of his established course of life. “There are very few verdicts in Missoula County that are higher than this,” said Zander Blewett, Ginn’s attorney. “I’m not saying that there aren’t any, but none come to mind at the moment.”

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Guy Bennett Lumber in Clarkston plan to reopen mill

KLEWTV
January 16, 2014
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

CLARKSTON, WA – The timber market is on the rebound and the owners of Guy Bennett Lumber aren’t wasting anytime, they’re looking to hire dozens of people later this year. They plan to have between 60 and 70 employees after a five-year closure at the local mill. Wood is now coming in from all different areas in preparation to get both the saw mill and plainer up and running. Bennett Lumber Vice President Brett Bennett said they’re excited to get the mill reopened.

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Forestry industry looks beyond pulp mill proposal

ABC News, Australia
January 17, 2014
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Labor has put a pulp mill at the front of its 2014 Tasmanian election campaign, when the Premier Lara Giddings set the date. As well as calling a March 15th poll, the Premier declared she was recalling Parliament to sit on January 28th to move legislation on pulp mill permits. Australian Forest Contractors Association ceo, Colin McCulloch said the industry was looking for support for downstream processing, whether it’s a pulp mill or something else.

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Forestry

Major landslide causes property and environmental damage in Great Bear Rainforest

January 17, 2014
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A major landslide has caused property and ecological damage in an area of the Great Bear Rainforest where environmentalists have long said industrial logging should not be permitted. The slide occurred Monday in the Johnston Creek drainage of Rivers Inlet, but is just coming to light now after being reported to The Vancouver Sun. “Those are naturally unstable slopes with thin soil,” responded Ian McAllister of the environmental group Pacific Wild. “It’s an area that shouldn’t have clearcuts and large logging roads. It’s one of the best salmon producing systems in Rivers Inlet.”

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TLA Panel 4 -The Business of Logging

Reporting from the Convention – Kelly McCloskey
Tree Frog News
January 17, 2014
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

David Durante (CAT) spoke on the importance of recapitalization, having a strong balance sheet and good communication with lenders. Ron Forster (RBC) spoke on financing new logging ventures and the opportunity to use a combination of conventional loans with non-conventional means (e.g., strategic partnerships, suppliers, work-in-progress, etc.). Gord Hubley (MNP) spoke on rates of returns and the responsibility of the licensee to make sure both parties are making a profit. He noted that, “if contractors are living off depreciation, their business will fail”. Paul Krismer (WorkSafeBC) spoke on how to reduce costs by avoiding the “phychology of disability” (e.g., by getting injured workers into their system ASAP). Harry Nelson (UBC) spoke to the importance of addressing the impacts of industry consolidation and restoring conditions that encourage investment in equipment and the workforce. [END STORY]

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U.S. Forest Service to Mark 50th Anniversary of Wilderness Act

USDA Blog
January 16, 2014
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

…This year is the golden anniversary of the Wilderness Act, signed on Sept. 3, 1964, by President Lyndon Johnson. The act established the country’s National Wilderness Preservation System. So, on Sept. 3, 2014, lovers of wildlands will celebrate the landmark event that made history. Today, America boasts 758 wilderness areas covering almost 110 million acres. The Forest Service alone manages 440 wilderness areas. They make up a third of the entire National Forest System.

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California wildfire stops at LA suburbs as Santa Ana winds die down

Associated Press
January 16, 2014
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

GLENDORA, Calif. – Santa Ana winds that fanned a campfire into a wildfire that destroyed five homes and threatened foothill neighbourhoods east of Los Angeles relented Thursday afternoon, halting the blaze in its tracks. The fire swept through 1,700 acres of brush in the San Gabriel Mountains early in the day and drove some 3,700 people to evacuate, but by nightfall it was no longer advancing and was 30 per cent contained. “The weather co-operated quite a bit today. We didn’t get the wind … that we thought,” Los Angeles County fire Deputy Chief John Tripp said.

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Pressure on forestry sector to ‘stop the carnage’

TVNZ
January 16, 2014
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Forestry accidents occur at all times of the day and in all weather conditions, the Forest Owners Association says. Responding to calls for stricter regulations after another fatality in the sector yesterday, senior policy analyst Glen Mackie said there are no discernible patterns that would support the changes sought by the CTU. “This industry needs immediate interim regulation of its employment and safety practices to put a stop to the carnage,” CTU president Helen Kelly said.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Carbon emissions from B.C. forests ‘alarming’: environmental group

Victoria Times Colonist
January 16, 2014
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

An environmental group is calling on the provincial government to take action as B.C.’s forests continue to emit more carbon dioxide than they absorb. “We’re concerned this has become a long-term problem,” said Jens Wieting from environmental advocacy group the Sierra Club. I…Due to a number of factors — including pine beetle infestation, slash fires, wood waste and clear cutting — B.C.’s forests have not done this since 2003, and are emitting carbon dioxide at alarming rates, the group said.

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General

Major landslide causes property and environmental damage in Great Bear Rainforest

January 17, 2014
Category: Uncategorised

A major landslide has caused property and ecological damage in an area of the Great Bear Rainforest where environmentalists have long said industrial logging should not be permitted. The slide occurred Monday in the Johnston Creek drainage of Rivers Inlet, but is just coming to light now after being reported to The Vancouver Sun. “Those are naturally unstable slopes with thin soil,” responded Ian McAllister of the environmental group Pacific Wild. “It’s an area that shouldn’t have clearcuts and large logging roads. It’s one of the best salmon producing systems in Rivers Inlet.”

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