Tree Frog Forestry News

Monthly Archives: April 2017

Today’s Takeaway

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em. Know when to fold ’em.

Tree Frog Forestry News
April 28, 2017
Category: Today's Takeaway
Region: Canada, United States

… Know when to walk away, and know when to run. Couldn’t help but think of Kenny Rogers – The Gambler, at last night’s highly informative, jam-packed regional meeting of the North American Wholesale Lumber Association (NAWLA). With softwood duties on everyone’s mind, keynote speakers Susan Yurkovivh (COFI), Duncan Davies (Interfor) and Jason Fisher (BC Government), didn’t hold back.

Yurkovich noted that—like most of what the US has said to date—”these proposals are designed to seed division, play into national and regional politics and soften Canada up for the inevitable negotiations“. Although he did well to retain his bureaucratese, Fisher described how the US “twisted the rules” to find a subsidy and justify retroactivity, which he found—given his legal background—”quite galling“.

Davies described the dispute as being “all about increasing the value of US timberlands”. Rather than invest in their mills to increase profits, Davies said the “US lumber manufacturers achieve better returns by ratcheting up lumber prices”. Ironically, he also noted, “it’s this lack of US reinvestment in their mills—and their low log cost—that has encouraged Canadian companies to invest in the US South”.


If you’re still humming Roger’s tune, it ends with:
You never count your money, when you’re sittin’ at the table, there’ll be time enough for countin’, when the dealin’s done.

–Tree Frog Editors

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Special Feature

Calling a spade a spade, the US softwood effort is a “simple shake-down”

By Kelly McCloskey
Tree Frog Forestry News
April 28, 2017
Category: Special Feature
Region: Canada, United States

Known for calling a spade a spade, Duncan Davies, Interfor CEO and Chair of the BC Lumber Trade Council, described the US softwood effort as a “simple shake-down”. Like its four predecessors, he noted that the dispute is all about “increasing the value of US timberlands, which occurs every time trade litigation is launched, Canadian supply is restricted and lumber prices rise”. Further, “rather than invest in their mills to increase profits, US lumber manufacturers achieve better returns by ratcheting up lumber prices”. Ironically, Davies notes, it’s this lack of US reinvestment in their mills (and their low log cost) that “has encouraged Canadian companies to invest in the US South.”

With respect to what’s next, Davies is confident the dispute will be settled, but whether that’s in “six months or six years”, he can’t say. Further, rather than a bottom of the market adjustment (like the SLA), Davies expects a market share ceiling approach, with the US not wanting to settle above 25%. With Canada’s current share at 32%, this would represent a reduction in Canadian exports of 3.5 BBF, “with huge job and unimaginable market impacts”. Finally, on whether the deposits will be returned upon settlement (80% of the $5 billion collected by 2006 was returned), Davies suggests “the change in Washington means the past is not necessarily a precedent for future action”.

On strategy, Davies notes that the US is “focused on market share but can’t supply current demand, which is growing at the equivalent of about 20 sawmills a year”. As such, BC and Canada need to “stay calm, stay united and let it unfold. The US Administration cares about America First, about US jobs and about a win for President Trump. How much that will cost (likely more than in 2006) and how long that will take are the big unknowns”.

Noting that this cycle of “sue-settle-profit & repeat is expected to continue with Softwood VI and VII”, Davies expressed his concern for the sector’s future and for those in the room that will have to live through it. He also noted the significant risk we take as each round “undermines the excellent work that is being done to grow the market for wood while increasing price volatility, a factor that is particularly advantageous to our non-wood competitors”.

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US Preliminary Countervailing Duty

By Kelly McCloskey
Tree Frog Forestry News
April 28, 2017
Category: Special Feature
Region: Canada, United States

NAWLA’s second speaker, Jason Fisher, Associate Deputy Minister, Forest Sector at Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Province of BC, provided an overview of the current (and many) dispute processes, which includes Injury Determination, the Preliminary Countervailing Duty (CVD) and Anti-dumping.

Noting that the US finding of injury was “unsurprising”—given the Department of Commerce’s history of creativity in reaching their objective, and because injury is required to continue the case— Fisher highlighted the “unusual approach” pursued with the CVD investigation (e.g., the sample-company approach rather than an aggregate assessment of the sector) and the critical circumstances decision (that led to the duties being retroactive). Although he did well to retain his bureaucratese, Fisher described how the subsidy calculation and the retroactivity ”twisted the rules”, which he found—given his legal background—“quite galling”.

Asked about log exports and whether a change in BC’s laws would address any of the US concerns, Fisher said “the softwood dispute is not about log exports. In fact, a more restrictive log export policy would likely be used against Canada in this regard”.

Fisher closed by noting that although the BC Government is playing the long game, they’ve been “active for two years preparing the evidence required to fight the case in courts, which includes NAFTA, WTO and possibly the Court of International Trade”. 

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Forestry

No grounds to speak

Letter by Marilyn Olthuis
Sunshine Coast Reporter
April 27, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

In regards to Warren Hansen’s letter last week (“ELF does not speak for mountain bikers”), I oppose his view and misleading comments that mountain bikers in general support logging and look to the Community Forest as support for the recreational community. He has no grounds to speak for the majority who frequent the trails for biking or other outdoor activities. The attempt to indicate that trails are built better after logging is simply not true. …Riding trails that have been interrupted with logging is a most unpleasant experience. I, and the many mountain bikers I know, support ELF’s efforts to preserve our forests for their beauty and diversity.

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‘We’re quite concerned they haven’t learned anything’: report on Namushka fire urges change

By Richard Gleeson
CBC News
April 28, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

With another dry forest fire season predicted for the Northwest Territories, owners of a lodge that burned to the ground last July are still waiting for answers about why they did not receive any help, or even a warning. …”There was lots of issues, I think, on their [the territorial government’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources’] side of things,” said Bryan Chorostkowski. “Do I think they handled it well? No. Not at all. There were seven recommendations made at the end of our report, and they all point to stuff ENR has to change.” “We’ve asked to see what they’ve done, and we’ve got one word answers back,” Chorostkowski said. “We’ve asked for an explanation for how these things have been implemented and they haven’t even got back to us.”…The Minister of Environment and Natural Resources says all of the recommendations in the report on the Namushka fire will be implemented, but did not appear familiar with the recommendations.

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Forest Service tweet roasts Trump order opening up national monuments to drilling and mining

By Travis Gettys
RawStory.com
April 27, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

The U.S. Forest Service tweeted out an apparent protest of President Donald Trump’s executive order that would open up national monuments for development. The agency’s official Twitter account posted a photo Thursday morning apparently showing the remnants of a forest fire in a mountain wilderness area, with the caption, “All of the forests are gone #HintsYoureInHell.” Trump signed an executive order Wednesday that would reverse many of the environmental protections put in place by former President Barack Obama. The Republican president said Obama had abused his authority under the 1906 Antiquities Act to “lock up” millions of acres under federal protection, which Trump said had restricted economic growth.

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State Forestry Director announces retirement after 18 years

WDTV 5 News
April 27, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – After 18 years as State Forester, Director Charles “Randy” Dye will retire from the West Virginia Division of Forestry on Monday, May 1. Dye, a native of Parkersburg, earned a degree in forest management from West Virginia University and has worked in forestry since 1974. He was appointed West Virginia’s State Forester in 1999. …“I am thankful for the opportunity to have led the Division of Forestry these last 18 years,” Dye said. “I’ve enjoyed watching those I have hired and trained go on to succeed in their careers, and I am proud to say many have risen to responsible management positions.” …In 2010, Dye received the “Two Chief’s Partnership Award,” from the Chiefs of the U.S. Forest Service and Natural Resource Conservation Service for the Division of Forestry’s collaborative efforts to protect and manage West Virginia’s forest resources on both private and public land. 

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Trump orders monument scrutiny

By Mark Freeman
Mail Tribune
April 26, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Supporters believe what they see as strong community acceptance for last fall’s Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument expansion, its scientific backing and its vetting through a string of public hearings will buoy it against scrutiny under a new President Donald Trump executive order. Trump’s executive order seeking to review what the administration called “government over-reach” in using the Antiquities Act of 1906 likely will lead to a review of the monument expansion, a review monument backers believe it should survive unscathed. “The Antiquities Act gives the president the power to protect public land, said Dave Willis, chairman of the Soda Mountain Wilderness Council. “It doesn’t give the president power to unprotect public land. “Frankly, it’s been a gift from past administrations,” Willis said. “It would be very sad if that gift was taken away or diminished by this administration.”

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Scientists examine impact of high-severity fires on conifer forests

By Harvard University
Phys.Org
April 27, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The ability of some Western conifer forests to recover after severe fire may become increasingly limited as the climate continues to warm, scientists from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) and Harvard Forest found in a new study published today in Global Change Biology. Although most of these cone-bearing evergreen trees are well adapted to fire, the study examines whether two likely facets of climate change—hotter, drier conditions and larger, more frequent and severe wildfires—could potentially transform landscapes from forested to shrub-dominated systems. …In fact, the study found that the longer the interval between the fire and the conifer’s establishment, the slower the tree’s growth.

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Community Agriculture Alliance: Health of Colorado’s forests

By Kristin Mortenson – administrative assistant for the Colorado State Forest Service
Steamboat Pilot & Today
April 27, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Dead standing trees in Colorado forests have increased by almost 30 percent, to an estimated 834 million trees, during the past seven years. That’s nearly one in every 14 standing trees in our forest. This trend of increasing tree mortality, most observable in forests impacted by bark beetles, can result in forests conducive to large, intense wildfires, such as the 2016 Beaver Creek Fire. That fire burned almost 40,000 acres of beetle-kill forest northwest of Walden. This weekly column about agriculture issues is written by area farmers, ranchers and policymakers. It publishes on Fridays in the Steamboat Today. Read more columns here. The 2016 Report on the Health of Colorado’s Forests, recently released by the Colorado State Forest Service, highlighted this and other observed forest trends for the state. 

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Primeval forest risks sparking new EU-Poland clash

Phys.Org
April 27, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The EU warned Poland on Thursday it may take legal action to stop logging in a UNESCO World Heritage forest, risking a new clash with Warsaw’s right-wing government. Brussels gave Poland one month rather than the usual two to address its concerns about the ancient Bialowieza forest or face being summoned by the EU’s top court. “One month was considered the right time considering the urgency of the situation,” European Commission spokesman Enrico Brivio told reporters. He said Poland’s reply to requests to stop large-scale logging in the forest was “not satisfactory” amid concerns it could cause irreparable biodiversity loss.

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Company & Business News

Canadian ministers dine with senior Chinese officials as trade conflict looms with U.S.

By Marie-Danielle Smith
National Post
April 27, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada

OTTAWA — While a potential conflict looms with the U.S. over trade, the Canada’s Liberal government is continuing to cozy up to China. Canadian ministers had high-level discussions and a private dinner this week with powerful Chinese officials, including the vice-premier who was seated next to President Xi Jinping at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-lago resort at the beginning of the month. According to a Canadian government official, Finance Minister Bill Morneau and International Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne sat across from Vice Premier Wang Ying (one of four vice-premiers directly under Xi) at a boardroom table before being treated to a “very traditional Chinese banquet” afterwards. It capped off a six-day mission to China led by Champagne.

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Canfor Corp. eyes acquisitions amid U.S. lumber duties carnage

By Sunny Freeman
Financial Post
April 27, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada

Canfor Corp., one of the world’s largest forestry companies, sees potential acquisition opportunities in the carnage left by new U.S. softwood lumber duties that could hit Canadian small- and medium-sized mills especially hard. “We’ve got an appetite for [mergers and acquisitions],” Canfor CEO Don Kayne said on a conference call Thursday to discuss the company’s slightly better-than-expected first quarter results. “Clearly now with the valuations and so forth, we’re closely watching the market … so we’re just evaluating all those opportunities that may come up on an individual basis.” The Vancouver-based company reported Wednesday first-quarter net income of $66.1 million, or 50 cents per share, more than doubling the $26 million, or 20 cents per share it reported in the first quarter of 2016.

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If it looks like a trade war, swims like a trade war, quacks like a trade war

By Michael Babad
The Globe and Mail
April 27, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

Tit for tat. Presumably, you’ve got to have at least one return volley to mark the start of the war. And at this point, we’ve only had the tat in any tit-for-tat trade action between the United States and Canada. If Christy Clark has her way, our volley would come next. And, as they say, if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it’s probably a duck. So far, we’ve seen just one trade action, from the Americans on softwood lumber. Beyond that, there’s the bluster and the threats. But all of this takes a toll on Canadian companies, and threatens to damage the economy even further…If it looks like a duck – Let’s start with softwood lumber… If it swims like a duck. Ms. Clark, Mr. Trudeau and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard are swimming against ever-rising floods… If it quacks like a duck. It sure does, and most of it’s coming from Mr. Trump. Heading into his 100th day, Mr. Trump has spent much of the last couple of weeks blaming Canada for some of America’s woes, slamming its dairy, lumber and energy industries.

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Canada reports progress with U.S. on lumber, but ‘not there yet’ on a deal: Freeland

By David Ljunggren
Reuters in The Financial Post
April 27, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

OTTAWA — Canada and the United States have made progress in recent days on a dispute over Canadian lumber exports “but we are not there yet,” Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Wednesday. …In Quebec, another lumber province, softwood negotiator Raymond Chretien said the two sides should try to settle the dispute ahead of the NAFTA talks. “If lumber is not resolved (before NAFTA) the atmosphere will be so polluted,” he said in an interview. Stocks in Canadian lumber firms, which rose on Tuesday on relief the duties had not been higher, posted mixed results. Resolute Forest Products Inc shares closed up 15.0 per cent on Wednesday while West Fraser Timber Co Ltd fell 2.6 per cent.

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Federal, Provincial Ministers Discuss U.S. Softwood Lumber Measures

By Natural Resources Canada
Government of Canada
April 27, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

U.S. duties on Canadian softwood lumber are unfair and the Government of Canada will vigorously defend the interests of the Canadian softwood lumber industry. As always, our first priority is to protect Canadian jobs and communities. Today, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Jim Carr, held a call with his provincial counterparts to discuss how to help Canadian workers and communities affected by the countervailing duties announced earlier this week, and to examine additional measures. Ministers from Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador joined the discussions for the first time, after their provinces were not exempted from the new countervailing duties.

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These Parts Of Canada Will Take The Biggest Hit From Trump’s Lumber Tariff

By Daniel Tencer
Huffington Post Canada
April 27, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

Both Canada’s natural resources minister, Jim Carr, and Canada’s largest private-sector union, Unifor, are warning of possible job losses from the tariffs on softwood lumber that U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration announced this week. “Workers on both sides of the border will be the losers of a trade war,” Unifor national president Jerry Dias said in a statement. Unifor represents 24,000 forestry workers across the country. …“When it comes to the affected share of GDP or employment, British Columbia and New Brunswick are most directly exposed,” economists at National Bank Financial (NBF) wrote in a client note Tuesday. …But if there is a silver lining here, it’s that Canada’s economy doesn’t depend on lumber exports as much as it used to.

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Lumber, Nafta and Mexico Signal Long Canada-U.S. Trade Spat

By Josh Wingrove and Greg Quinn
Bloomberg
April 27, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

A long road remains after Donald Trump fired the starting pistol in yet another softwood lumber fight, one of several trade disputes the U.S. and Canada are set to spend years sorting out. …“This isn’t an easy fix,” Derek Nighbor, chief executive officer of the Forest Products Association of Canada, said Tuesday on Bloomberg TV Canada, adding duties can’t be appealed until they’re finalized early next year. In the meantime, they could mean an extra C$500,000 ($370,000) or more a month for a single Canadian mill. “These are very significant costs, and businesses are going to have to figure out: How do you manage through this? How do you cash-flow through this?” Among the next steps the U.S. may take are anti-dumping duties, with a decision due June 23, and finalized duties expected by January of 2018. 

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In Canadian lumber town, real fears over a trade war with Trump

By Ana Swanson
The Washington Post
April 27, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

QUESNEL, B.C. — Brett Gosselin, a lumberjack like his father before him, lives his life in solitary 12-hour shifts in the vast pine forests that stretch across the Canadian north, master of a gigantic whirling buzz saw that can fell several 100-foot trees in a single crashing roar. The isolation, or risk of injury, holds no terror for him. But on an afternoon when the future of North America’s globalized economic order appeared to hang in the balance, Gosselin — a tall, heavyset man in a black hooded sweatshirt — retreated to the bar of a local hotel and admitted something: He was very worried. …But as Gosselin spent the afternoon commiserating with the bartender and other customers, there was a sense that this time around things are different. Behind the bar, Sid Cyca, who sold lumber for West Fraser before retiring to take over the family restaurant, said Trump had gone too far. “It’s not a proper way of doing business between countries,” Cyca said. “We don’t have that problem with any other country, like China or Japan. The price is the price, and they pay it. It sort of rubs everybody the wrong way.”

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Clark calls on Ottawa to ban coal exports after softwood lumber duties

By Geordon Omand
Canadian Press in CTV News
April 27, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

SURREY, B.C. — Premier Christy Clark is taking aim at the American coal industry in the wake of the United States imposing hefty tariffs on British Columbia’s softwood exports. …Researcher Clark Williams-Derry said it is difficult to underestimate the impact a ban on thermal coal exports would have for the coal industry in the western U.S. “Essentially, what this does is it wipes out the last remaining option for U.S. coal exporters to get their products off the northwest coast to Asia,” said Williams-Derry, who works for the Sightline Institute, an energy think tank based in Seattle. “If this goes through, it pretty much puts the kibosh on any export potential for the future.”

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US-Canada softwood lumber row turns Canadian attention to China

China Daily
April 27, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

VANCOUVER – A row that erupted this week between Canada and the United States over Canadian softwood lumber exports proves that Canada must expand its lumber trade to China and other Asian markets, Canadian officials said Wednesday. …Derek Nighbor, FPAC’s CEO, told Xinhua in a Wednesday interview that he travelled to China three months ago as part of a BC government trade mission. He said China’s appetite and ability to build commercial and residential structures with BC wood is increasing. “As our companies get to know the Chinese market better, and as our governments deepen their relationships, I think there is untapped potential in China most definitely,” he said. The CEO noted both Canada and China are struggling with an unpredictable US administration. 

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Easy for some to play partisan politics with U.S. softwood lumber dispute

By Dan Albas, MP Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola
INFOnews.ca
April 27, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

This week the USA administration announced that softwood lumber imports into the United States from Canada… Within hours many media sources were running headlines reporting a trade war had erupted. Closer to home BC NDP leader John Horgan accused Premier Christy Clark of failing to resolve the matter even though it is entirely an issue of Federal jurisdiction… I mention these things because this is an issue that for some is easy to play partisan politics with as the BC NDP has illustrated. However in reality forestry is a critically important industry not just in our riding of Central Okanagan Similkameen Nicola but in many ridings in British Columbia and let us not forget other regions of Canada… I mention all of these things as I believe that partisan politics and finger pointing will not constructively assist this situation and our combined focus should be on getting an agreement. If we can work together on a united approach we will increase our odds of success.

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Trump has decided to go with the ‘nuclear option’ on some of his trade investigations

By Linette Lopez
Business Insider
April 28, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

Over the last week, the Trump administration has made a flurry of announcements about trade. Among the statements, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC that this administration would be more about “enforcement” of trade deals. And now we’re experiencing exactly what that means… — that the government will “self-initiate” (a trade wonk term) trade enforcement cases against our trading partners, which fall under four categories: 1. Anti-dumping, 2. Countervailing duty, 3. Safeguard and 4. National security (the nuclear option)… The softwood lumber case against Canada is a countervailing duty case… Countervailing duty cases are supposed to take 315 days according to WTO regulations, but the last time we looked into lumber, under President George H.W. Bush, it took four years. The ‘nuclear option’ – The steel and aluminum cases are different. 

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Lumber industry stuck in Groundhog Day loop

By the Editorial Board
Edmonton Journal
April 28, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

The head of a group representing Alberta foresters concisely captured the feelings of many Canadians hearing of yet another trade fight with the United States over softwood lumber. “This actually feels a bit like Groundhog Day,” said Paul Whittaker, CEO of the Alberta Forest Products Association. In the movie, a character is trapped in a time loop, reliving the same day over and over despite countless attempts to break the cycle. It felt like deja vu all over again, when Donald Trump reopened a three-decade old dispute this week by imposing duties of up to 24 per cent on Canadian lumber to retaliate for what the U.S. calls unfair government subsidies and dumping of lumber products. …Runjuan Liu, an economics professor at the U of A’s Alberta School of Business, suspects the tariff may be a power play, an easy move to pave the way for the NAFTA renegotiations.

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It’s lumber lawyers who will wage war

By Les Leyne
Victoria Times Colonist
April 28, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

…It’s an international dispute, handled by federal governments. More accurately, by vast teams of lawyers on both sides of the border. B.C. has burned through eight premiers during various lumber wars going back to the 1980s. They played roles to varying degrees, but none of them made much of a personal impact. If a politician is going to make a difference, it’s going to be the president or the prime minister. B.C. is the largest provincial player, but the Canadian side has many players, and it’s the federal government calling the plays. A B.C. premier does have a role to play, though. It’s not fighting, or standing toe to toe, or staring down U.S. President Donald Trump. It’s coping with the fallout, by designing programs needed in communities when the lumber trade slacks off and the mills start to curtail production.

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B.C. must fight softwood duties

By the Editorial Board
Victoria Times Colonist
April 28, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

First it was milk, and now it’s softwood lumber. U.S. President Donald Trump has apparently forgotten his early affection for Canada and its trading relationship with his country. …Trump also desperately needs to score some clear wins after being frustrated in his attempts to deliver quickly on his many campaign promises. Beating up on Canada will play well with the many voters who want him to put “America First.” In this case, the American lumber lobby has hammered away at the issue for decades, so the constituency is there, and much of the hard work has already been done in shaping the U.S. position. The new president just had to make the fight his own. As with so much that involves Trump, the challenge is in figuring out his real intentions amid his frequent inexplicable changes of direction. …Canada does have allies in the U.S., where the National Association of Home Builders has warned that the tariffs would push up the price of new homes in that country. That will hurt homebuyers and cost jobs.

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Doherty sounds off on expected tariffs regarding Canadian softwood lumber

By Brendan Pawliw
My Prince George Now
April 27, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty is fuming over the duties that are expected to be enforced on Canadian softwood lumber. Doherty says he’s one of many that are frustrated by the lack of urgency in Ottawa. “Right from the very beginning we raised the issue and let’s be really clear, the government had 18 months to find some form of a solution and the message we got back was well it’s a really hard and complex and file. That’s unacceptable.” Some tough times are ahead with a not so promising outlook according to Doherty. “There is going to be a lot of hardship that will negatively impact our small to medium producers throughout our region and right across Canada. Our Canadian softwood provides up to 400,000 jobs and supports up to a million families. There are some troubling times coming down the wire.”

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Mercer International posts 1Q profit

Associated Press in Yahoo Finance
April 27, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Mercer International Inc. on Thursday reported first-quarter earnings of $9.7 million. The Vancouver, British Columbia-based company said it had net income of 15 cents per share. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs, were 31 cents per share. The pulp company posted revenue of $242.8 million in the period. Mercer International shares have increased 18 percent since the beginning of the year. In the final minutes of trading on Thursday, shares hit $12.55, a rise of 30 percent in the last 12 months. END OF STORY

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New duty imposed on softwood lumber

By Tara Sprickerhoff
100 Mile House Free Press
April 27, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

Cariboo companies are being hit hard with the recent announcement of softwood lumber duties to be imposed by the U.S. Department of Commerce. West Fraser was hit the hardest by the duties at a rate of 24.12 per cent. Other companies assessed for duties were Canfor, (20.26 per cent), Tolko (19.50 per cent), Resolute (12.82 per cent) and Irving (3.02 per cent). All other British Columbian and Canadian companies will face a tariff of 19.88 per cent. …There is, however, the possibility of more to come. The U.S. Department of Commerce is also expected to release a preliminary determination on “anti-dumping” duties on June 23 in order to offset what it considers are unfair practices by Canadian lumber companies allegedly selling lumber below costs or sales values in Canada.

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‘I was pretty sure it was coming’: Hainesville sawmill prepares to close over tariff

CBC News
April 27, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada East, Canada

Back in January, Danny Stillwell started to get the feeling the United States would slap big duties on his eastern white cedar shipments to Maine. This week, the U.S. announced its new tariffs on softwood lumber, and rather than pay thousands of dollars per load shipped across the border, Stillwell prepared to close his sawmill, Hainesville Sawmill Ltd., northwest of Fredericton. …At the beginning of March, the New Brunswick sawmill stopped purchasing logs. Stillwell said he’s been busy trying to clear his inventory. “I’m shutting down on my terms,” he said. “I could keep going and bleed the company dry, [but] that’s not my intention.” …Fredericton MP Matt DeCourcey, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of foreign affairs, said there is no way the U.S. can make an argument that New Brunswick is subsidizing its forestry industry. “It is our view that the claims they made this week are baseless and unfounded,” he said.

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Forestry’s struggles in spotlight at meeting

By John Nagy
Chronicle Journal
April 28, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada East, Canada

While the Thunder Bay area was essentially shut down due to the ice storm, the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association’s annual conference trudged along on Thursday. …A joint presentation by Resolute Forest Products and the Ontario Forest Industries Association came on the heels of the U.S. Commerce Department slapping an almost 20 per cent tariff on softwood lumber imports on Tuesday. Ontario Forest Industries Association president and chief executive officer Jamie Lim said she knew this was in the works. “It wasn’t a surprise, obviously everyone in the sector understood that there would be a determination coming, but it doesn’t make it any easier,” said Lim.

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New Brunswick sawmills say time is of the essence in softwood lumber dispute

By Andrew Cromwell
Global News
April 27, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada East, Canada

Softwood lumber producers in the province are stressing time is of the essence when it comes to saving their industry. Most New Brunswick mills are facing U.S.-imposed duties of almost 20 per cent. The 70-year-old family operation Devon Lumber employs about 40 people. It considers itself one of the smaller mills in the province. It deals solely in softwood, and about 75 per cent of its business heads south of the border. …The industry is hoping for a quick resolution to this issue with concerns for both employees and customers. “The first few months, we’ll muddle through,” said Brian Trenholm, Devon Lumber’s chief financial officer. “It’s going to be difficult, it’s going to be expensive. If this drags on for a long period of time and we can find a negotiated settlement, then people are going to have to make some hard decisions.”

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Weyerhaeuser reports first quarter results

By Weyerhaeuser Company
PR Newswire
April 28, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: United States

SEATTLE – Weyerhaeuser Company (NYSE: WY) today reported first quarter net earnings to common shareholders of $157 million, or 21 cents per diluted share, on net sales of $1.7 billion. This compares with earnings from continuing operations of $61 million, or 8 cents per diluted share, on net sales of $1.4 billion for the same period last year. Excluding an after-tax special item of $10 million for merger-related costs, the company reported net earnings of $167 million, or 22 cents per diluted share for the first quarter. This compares with net earnings from continuing operations before special items of $126 million for the same period last year and $106 million for fourth quarter 2016.

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Lumber tariff a bad deal

By the Editorial Board
The Detroit News
April 27, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: United States

If an answer was needed to the question of who gets hurt when the United States engages in trade protectionism, President Donald Trump provided it with his move to slap a 20 percent tariff on Canadian soft lumber. It’s the American consumer. Trump waded into the longstanding beef harbored by timber companies in the American northwest, who accuse Canada of dumping lumber into the U.S. at below market prices. …Soft lumber is heavily used in home construction, and about 65 percent of the boards that go into U.S. homes come from Canada. And that’s where consumers will get hit. The targeted Canadian imports total $5 billion; the tariff will add $1 billion to the price tag. That’s expected to drive up new home costs in the United States by 3 percent at a time when they are already climbing because of a shortage of construction workers. The U.S. claim of lumber dumping has been examined repeatedly by the dispute resolution panel of the North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organization and found to be lacking in substance.

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Latest In U.S.-Canada Lumber Dispute Has Northwest Players Speculating

By Emily Schwing
Oregon Public Broadcasting
April 27, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, US West

The decision by the U.S. Department of Commerce to impose tariffs on Canadian lumber in the U.S. caused a stir this week. But the local consequences are still unknown…?Homebuilder Lewis Mann uses lumber from Canada in custom homes his company builds throughout Washington, Oregon and the Idaho Panhandle. ??“About three weeks ago, we got an email from the east side of our Washington borders — the Spokane area,” Mann said. “Our lumber supply company was going to be raising their prices about 17 to 18 percent just in response to the market’s heat right now.” ?So how could this shake out in the American Northwest? Forest landowners and mills might see an increase in demand and profits. “That should translate into more jobs and more stability in our domestic industry in the United States,” Associated Oregon Loggers Executive Vice President Jim Geisinger said.

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Oregon fines Swanson Group over wastewater discharge; lumber company plans to appeal

By Dylan Darling
The Register-Guard
April 26, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: United States, US West

A Douglas County lumber company faces more than $20,000 in fines from the state for allegedly letting waste­water flow into a creek near its Glendale veneer-and-plywood mill without a permit. Swanson Group allowed hot water and detergent from a vehicle-­and-equipment wash station to run into Windy Creek, a tributary of Cow Creek, according to the state Department of Environmental Quality. The violations allegedly occurred over more than six years — between July 2010, when the company built the wash station, and November. Swanson Group plans to appeal the fines, company President Steve Swanson said late last week. Swanson Group has sent a letter to the DEQ, saying that it stopped using the wash station in November. The company has until May 9 to appeal, according to the DEQ.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

All-ages coloring book communicates the science behind climate change

By Kimberley Mok
TreeHugger
April 27, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Touted as a great way to destress, turn off the thinking mind and exercise a bit of easy creativity, adult colouring books (yes, there really is such a thing) have recently become quite popular. But a new crowdfunded project is seeking to use the medium of the colouring book as a way to effectively communicate the hard science behind climate change. The Climate Change Colouring Book is the brainchild of Brian Foo, a 31-year-old data artist and computer scientist based out of New York City. The book presents published data from official sources like NASA, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and the EPA in a visually organized way, inviting people to read the research, and to take their time to colour in the data visualization diagrams, allowing them to slowly absorb the information.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Historic CLT condo project being built near UBC

Journal of Commerce
April 27, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER, B.C. – The University of British Columbia (UBC) campus is soon to be the home of North America’s first market multi-family development built with cross-laminated timber (CLT). The 106-unit project, Virtuoso, is being developed and built by Adera who has constructed six other condominium projects on the campus. Different than conventional wood frame construction, CLT panels are lifted into place and connected to steel columns making for quicker, simpler assembly, explains a release. CLT also produces a lower carbon footprint. Shrinkage, a problem with some midrise construction, is also reduced with using the high tech material. In addition, the method of construction leads to much quieter homes, the release claims.

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Pioneering a new building system

By Mike McLean
Spokane Journal of Business
April 27, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

A new fitness gym under construction at 711 N. Helena is the first project to be erected here using load-bearing cross-laminated timber wall panels, claims Mike Bradley, a project manager for Spokane contractor Beacon Builders LLC. The panels are being erected as exterior walls for a new $967,000 CrossFit Duratus fitness gym, which will have 9,800 square feet of floor space. CLT panels are solid engineered-wood panels that are designed to have a high strength-to-weight ratio. The panels are made from multiple layers of kiln-dried lumber with each layer stacked in alternating directions and pressed and glued together. …Longmeier says he liked the CLT option because it seemed most ecofriendly. He says the wood finish also is aesthetically pleasing.

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‘Most advanced’ engineered wood building in the U.S. opens at University of Massachusetts

By Robert Dalheim
Woodworking Network
April 27, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

AMHERST, Mass. – An 87,000-square-foot engineered wood building has opened on the campus of the University of Massachusetts. The largest modern wood building in the U.S., UMass says its new Design Building is the most advanced cross-laminated timber (CLT) building in the country. Designed by Boston-based architects Leers Weinzapfel Associates, the $52 million building is the first in the U.S. to use a wood-concrete composite floor system. The four-story building features a glulam frame, CLT shaft walls and stairway, and a wood-steel truss system. The building saves the equivalent of over 2,300 metric tons of carbon when compared to a traditional energy-intensive steel and concrete building, says the university.

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