Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: October 16, 2017

Today’s Takeaway

US shocks with NAFTA demands, lumber futures soar

Tree Frog Forestry News
October 16, 2017
Category: Today's Takeaway

Sabotage or strategy — that is the question being asked after the US shocked Canada and Mexico with its NAFTA demands; including proposals that would de-fang the dispute settlement mechanism. Meanwhile, the end-of-NAFTA jitters sent lumber futures soaring, BC’s Trade Envoy said it doesn’t have to be an economic catastrophe and Canada lobbied Oregon on the importance of lumber trade.

In other Business news:

With the death toll at 40, California firefighters continue to struggle with several massive fires. Related headlines include: California forests are too dense and dying; instead of fighting them, we should let forests burn; and US states struggle to pay spiralling costs. Elsewhere, an Arizona conservation group adopts a plan to thin forests and Oregon researchers say a shift in public mindset may be the step towards more effective management

Finally, the BC Forest Practices Board reports mixed results on steep slope road building; BC recognizes first responders with post-fire award; and a University of Georgia study says biomass energy is not feasible in the US.

— Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Forestry

First Nations to receive skills training funding

By Barbara Geernaert
Prince George Citizen
October 13, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

First Nations in northeast B.C. will receive a $390,000 investment from the B.C. government to help participants build skills and explore careers in environmental stewardship and natural resource development. The Environmental Technology Access Program is open to members from McLeod Lake, Nak’azdli Whut’en, Nadleh Whut’en, Saik’uz Stellat’en, Takla Lake, Tl’azt’en and Yekooche First Nations. In a partnership between the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology and the Prince George Nechako Aboriginal Employment and Training Association, the training will prepare up to 15 participants for employment in the natural resource sectors or post-secondary education in the environmental resource technology program.

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Fewer fires burning a much larger area

Letter by Jack Carradice
Victoria Times Colonist
October 14, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Re: “We should be thankful for forest-fire crews,” letter, Oct. 9. It is apparent the letter-writer misread Nick Raeside’s commentary. …The last paragraph in his article suggests looking at the numbers when comparing 2017 to 1958. I went further than that and looked at the numbers over many years in the past. …A quick comparison looks like this: 2017 — 1,302 fires — area burned 12,128 square kilometres; 2003 — 2,472 fires — area burned 2,647 sq. km; 2006 — 2,570 fires — area burned 1,392 sq. km; 2009 — 3,064 fires — area burned 2,474 sq. km. Raeside does make you ask the big question: Why?

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Investigation of forestry roads on steep slopes released

BC Forest Practices Board
October 13, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

VICTORIA – An investigation of forestry roads constructed on steep terrain has found mixed results. While most of the road sections examined met the legal requirements, and some were very well done, others did not adhere to professional practice guidelines and several road sections were structurally unsafe, according to a report released today. The board looked at the design, construction and deactivation of 26 segments of road, built on steep terrain between 2012 and 2016, in five natural resource districts throughout the province. …“We saw some examples of excellent road construction practices and these are highlighted in our report,” said board vice-chair, Bill McGill. “We also saw some roads that were not well built and six road segments were not considered safe for road users due to construction deficiencies.

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Time for different approach to forestry in B.C.

By Gerry Warner
East Kootenay News Online Weekly
October 14, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

As I watch the snow-line creep down the ridges into town, I guess it’s safe to say summer is over and now would be a good time to reflect on the horrific fire season we just endured and – sad to say – deserved. I don’t say “deserved” lightly and I know many will disagree, but please hear me out because if we don’t change our ways it’s going to get worse in the future. For starters, we seldom practice “forestry” in B.C. We practice industrial logging with small pieces of forestry thrown in, and now in an era of global warming, it’s coming back to bite us in the butt, which is exactly what we deserve because we could have done better. What’s so bad about industrial forestry? Let me tell you.

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BC recognizes wildfire, flood volunteers, first responders with new award

By Hana Mae Nassar
Canadian Press and News 1130
October 14, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

John Horgan

KAMLOOPS  – British Columbia’s government is looking to recognize people who went out of their way to help when record-breaking wildfires tore through the province this summer. Premier John Horgan …announced the new “Above and Beyond” awards, which honour those who fought the flames, provided shelter for evacuees, or otherwise helped their community during the crisis. “Whether it was cooking meals, whether it was opening up their homes,” says Horgan. “Whatever was needed was offered. It was inspiring and that’s what true community is all about.” …“People deserve to be recognized for going above and beyond to help each other,” he adds. Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Minister Doug Donaldson says this award is to celebrate those who went out of their way to help, while tens of thousands were displaced and flames ravaged homes and forests.

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Cariboo Regional District and Williams Lake calling for Fire Mitigation Strategy

By Ken Alexander
100 Mile House Free Press
October 13, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Cariboo Regional District (CRD) and the City of Williams Lake introduced Resolution LR2 at the recent UBCM Convention that called for changes to the Forest & Range Practices Act, to include regulations that initiate a Fire Mitigation Strategy. Noting he spoke to the resolution from the UBCM floor, CRD chair Al Richmond says there has to be change on how the forests are managed. The resolution would prioritize public safety over other forest management initiatives, including harvesting and reforestation of the affected areas.

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Working together toward ‘net zero deforestation’

By Kevin Smith, Ducks Unlimited Canada
The Hamilton Spectator
October 13, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

So many of the products we buy in grocery chains, or retail clothing stores or over-the-counter at pharmacies, require packaging. …But what does that have to do with Ducks Unlimited Canada? Quite a lot, it turns out. …Through the Paris-based Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), … leading companies are collaborating with NGOs and government officials to reduce retail’s sustainability footprint while making sure these consumer goods remain safe and accessible. …Our own partnership with SFI …merges our goals of wetland stewardship with SFI’s interest in healthy forests from sustainable forest management on the ground. …Collectively, we have the scale and expertise to make a difference on zero net deforestation and other global goals. Let’s hope the CGF can help us combine those with the required dollars to ensure our collaborative efforts are truly scalable.

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Ontario’s oldest tree discovered by accident

By Tom Villemaire
Timmins Today
October 13, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

The year is 688 A.D. … In southern Britain, King Ethelred of Mercia solidifies the hold his tribe has over a large portion of what will become Great Britain. In Ontario, corn will soon see a century of use as an agricultural product, mostly at the hands of the Huron along the east and south shores of Georgian Bay between Barrie, Midland and Collingwood. To the west of Georgian Bay, on the Bruce Peninsula, a seed from a white cedar starts growing — one of millions across the province. Skip ahead to the 21st century. That white cedar is still going. It’s the oldest tree in Ontario. In fact, the thin screen of trees that cover the Bruce has among it some of the oldest trees in the country. …These tough trees, often wizened tiny things for their age — in Michael Henry and Peter Quinby’s book, Ontario’s Old-Growth Forests, one is described as being “the size of a small Christmas tree” — have been hiding in plain sight for centuries.

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Active management of wildfires is anti-intuitive

By George Wuerthner, ecologist
Idaho State Journal
October 15, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Recently Sen. Jim Risch published …a commentary on wildfire that had some inaccurate assumptions about wildfire. While Risch described the inconveniences, health risks and often economic impacts of wildlife, he misinterprets the causes, thus doesn’t have the correct solutions. For instance, Risch noted that firefighting costs reached $2 billion this past year, but failed to note that 95 percent of that cost is associated with defending homes and structures. Why is this important? Because construction of homes in the wildlands-urban interface continues to occur. Firefighters are risking their lives to save homes from fires that should never have been constructed. …This brings me to the second flawed assumption of Risch. He suggests that “wildfires are at least partially preventable and almost fully manageable.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

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Project saved homes from fires, but can it be duplicated?

Associated Press in the Idaho Statesman
October 16, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Just a few months [before a lighting fire started], the U.S. Forest Service and a group of locals …arranged to thin part of the overgrown forest, creating a buffer zone around Sisters. Workers removed trees and brush with machines, then came through on foot to ignite prescribed burns. That effort saved homes, and perhaps the community of 2,500 on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Range, by slowing the fire’s progress and allowing firefighters to corral it. Scrutiny of the condition of the American West’s forests, and of policies that curtailed logging and suppressed wildfires, has intensified amid a devastating wildfire season that has burned a combined area bigger than Maryland and caused widespread destruction in California’s wine country.

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Oregon State University researchers respond to Oregon wildfires

By Melinda Myers
THe Daily Barometer
October 16, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

As the year progresses to shoulder seasons, researchers and advocates look to what made this past summer so intense, and what can be done in the next months to help resilience and rehabilitation.  “A little of how we define fire seasons is based on resource availability, people and equipment,” said John Bailey, a silviculture and fire management professor in the department of forestry. “But most of the way we define is the condition of the fuel and the weather that we have—temperature, relative humidity, all that stuff.”  According to Bailey, a wildfire cycle is a natural occurrence in some areas.  “This is one important message, is that here in this part of the world we have a fairly predictable fire season. Good fire season essentially every year, even if we have a wet winter or spring,” Bailey said. 

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California forests are too dense and dying — they need better care

By Van Butsic, Henry McCann and Jeffrey Mount
San Francisco Chronicle
October 14, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

California’s forests are on fire, with tragic consequences for communities around the state. …The focus now is on saving lives and protecting property, but when the fires are out, the state will have to face up to a major problem: Our forests are too dense and dry, and, in some areas, dying. We need a new way to manage this vital natural resource. Nowhere is our challenge greater than in our headwater forests, the watershed for roughly two-thirds of California’s surface water supply and 15 percent of its electricity from hydropower plants. Failure to better manage our forests will result in higher future costs to fight wildfires, impaired air and water quality, and increased greenhouse gases due to loss of carbon stored in trees and soils.

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Death toll rises to 40 as firefighters continue to battle massive California wildfires

By Joseph Serna, Laura J. Nelson, Chris Megerian, Sonali Kohli
Los Angeles Times
October 15, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

As the death toll rose to 40, firefighters struggled to get the upper hand against several massive wildfires that have ravaged Northern California for almost a week. The winds that bedeviled firefighters Saturday are expected to die down Sunday, allowing firefighters to go back on the offense after a day of new evacuations. Cooler temperatures are also forecast. So evacuations in Napa city were lifted Sunday. Officials said Sunday they are making good progress on the Tubbs and Atlas fires, which are both more than 50% contained. Firefighters will concentrate their forces on the Nuns fire, which is 30% contained. At a Sunday afternoon briefing, Cal Fire Cmdr. Bret Gouvea told reporters that “overall things are feeling optimistic for us — we are very cautious about that.”

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US, states struggle to pay spiraling cost of fighting fires

By Don Thompson and Dan Elliott
The Associated Press in the Billings Gazette
October 15, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The long and brutal 2017 wildfire season is stressing the state and federal agencies that have to pay for the army of ground crews and machinery required to fight them. The federal government spent more than $2.7 billion on firefighting in its most recently finished budget year, a record that far surpassed the previous high point of $2.1 billion set just two years ago. …The Forest Service and its parent agency, the Department of Agriculture, have long argued that big wildfires should be treated like hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters and be paid for out of the federal Disaster Relief Fund. That would stabilize the Forest Service budget and help preserve money for fire-prevention programs. Many members of Congress agree — but they disagree on how to go about making the change.

 

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Instead of fighting wildfire, we should let forests burn

By Steve Taylor, behavior analyst
The Modesto Bee
October 14, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

…I’m asking Californians to consider the “Hurricane” approach to fighting wildfires. Just like it sounds, when there’s a fire on the mountain, we clear everyone out for miles around, let nature do its thing, then go back in later to see what’s left. We would fight a wildfire like we fought Irma and Harvey, first by trucking people out. This would save our forests, money and lives. Cal-Fire is the multi-billion dollar agency responsible for 31 million acres of public and private forests and in the past three years, its budget – just to fight wildfires – has more than doubled, from $242 million in fiscal year 2013-14 to $608 million in 2015-16, according to Cal-Fire spokesman, Scott McLain. …Fires should not be fought. Fire is a friend we should welcome in every 25 years or so.

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Forest Service, conservation group adopt new plan to thin forests, reduce fire risks

By Alex Devoid
AZ Central
October 14, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Overgrown Arizona forests have fueled unprecedented fires, burning bigger and hotter. “Forests that once had 40 to 50 trees per acre, now have 500 to a thousand trees per acre,” said Patrick Graham, director of the Arizona Nature Conservancy, at a news conference on Thursday. Thinning trees can reduce fire danger, but such efforts have been slow to produce results so far. The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Forest Service announced plans this week to launch a program called Future Forest to search for ways of thinning forests faster and more profitably. The program represents a new approach to an old problem, its supporters said. The Nature Conservancy, a non-profit organization, will invest in the program and work with the Forest Service to thin thousands more acres each year. Part of the goal is to become more efficient, even if it meansrewriting thinning and clearing contracts between the Forest Service and loggers.

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Nearly 200-acre fire in West Virginia 50 percent contained

The Associated Press in the Seattle Times
October 15, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

PETERSBURG, W.Va. — Forestry officials say a two-week-old wildfire in a remote area of West Virginia is about 50 percent contained. The U.S. Forest Service issued an incident report Sunday for the 198-acre fire in the Monongahela National Forest. The report crews are working on improving fire lines and keeping them clear from falling leaves. It says predicted higher winds may cause an increase in fire activity. The wildfire began Oct. 2 in Grant County, about 12 miles west of Petersburg. The fire’s cause remains under investigation. Unlike quick-moving wildfires in the western U.S., fires in the mostly hardwood forests of Appalachia are slow. [END]

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Wildfires in Portugal, Spain kill at least 9 people

By Barry hHtton
Associated Press in ABC News
October 16, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Wildfires in Portugal killed at least 27 people, injured dozens more and left others missing in the country’s second such tragedy in four months, officials said Monday. In neighboring Spain, four deaths were reported. The fatalities in Portugal occurred in densely forested parts of central and northern part of the country after blazes broke out in “exceptional” weather circumstances, Civil Protection Agency spokeswoman Patricia Gaspar said. The situation was still “critical” because of unseasonably high temperatures, Gaspar said. But cooler, wetter weather is approaching, which may give some respite to firefighters tackling the blazes. In addition to the 27 dead, 51 people have been injured, including 15 in serious condition, Gaspar said. She also said that an unknown number of people were still missing.

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Company & Business News

Plan for a strong future in forestry urges Unifor

By Unifor
Canada Newswire
October 16, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada

TORONTO – The forestry industry is poised for a strong future if governments and all stakeholders act now, writes Unifor in a new policy publication. “After painful restructuring over the last decade, we see many opportunities to rebuild and create jobs that benefit our communities and sustain the environment,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor’s National President. The Future of Forestry: A Workers Perspective for Successful, Sustainable and Just Forestry is a report from Unifor’s Forestry Industry Council, representing Unifor’s 24,000 forestry members. …Given the challenges faced by unjustified U.S. tariffs on softwood lumber, this timely publication argues that making the right policy choices will boost the value of the forestry industry and create good jobs by taking advantage of innovative technologies, new forest management practices and increasing skills.

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As U.S. shocks with NAFTA demands, other countries asking: What does Trump want?

Alexander Panetta
The Associated Press in the Times Colonist
October 15, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

ARLINGTON, United States — The chief U.S. negotiator shrugged his shoulders when asked about signs of trouble in the NAFTA talks on Sunday. John Melle… offered a one-word reply about how it’s going. “Fabulous,” he said. Upon leaving those rooms, people are saying the exact opposite. The No. 1 discussion topic at this current round is whether Melle’s team is being ordered to sabotage the talks, so President Donald Trump can declare NAFTA has failed. That’s because the U.S. team has unfurled a half-dozen bombshells so far beyond the realm of what’s palatable to the other parties that it’s all but exploded earlier hopes of a quick, easy negotiation. …One non-U.S. official described the body language of American negotiators as: “Kind of sheepish. They say, ‘We don’t have any flexibility on this.” …It would fit a tactic Trump has been accused of: Break now, fix later.

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U.S. proposes de-fanging NAFTA’s enforcement systems

By Alexander Panetta
The Canadian Press in the Financial Post
October 14, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

ARLINGTON, United States — The United States has requested a drastic weakening of the systems that enforce the North American Free Trade Agreement by settling disputes, sources said Saturday of the latest American proposals that would drastically overhaul NAFTA. The U.S. wants to strip down the three sections that settle disputes: Chapter 11 that lets companies sue governments, Chapter 19 that allows companies to fight to overturn duties, and Chapter 20 on country-to-country disputes. The American proposals would render all of them toothless. …The biggest anticipated fight is over Chapter 19. Canada walked out of the original free-trade negotiations with the U.S. in 1987, refusing any agreement without a mechanism that allows companies to fight anti-dumping duties. Over time, Canadian companies have used it in softwood-lumber cases, and could use it again if the Bombardier-versus-Boeing dispute drags on.

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No more NAFTA: How Canada could thrive without the trade pact

By Barrie McKenna
The Globe and Mail
October 15, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

David Emerson

For months now, the prospect of the United States pulling out of NAFTA has seemed like a bad dream. …But it wouldn’t have to be an economic catastrophe. If Canada plays its cards right, the death of NAFTA could become a catalyst for making the Canadian economy stronger, more outward-looking and less tethered to an increasingly unreliable partner. “If NAFTA were to cease, I don’t think it would be a complete disaster. And in some respects, it actually has a silver lining,” argues David Emerson, a former lumber executive and federal minister of both foreign affairs and trade. …Among other things, he says, Canada should use this time to forge closer ties with China, Japan and other Asian nations, ease the regulatory burden at home and invest heavily in the kind of infrastructure that will make trade easier – all to hedge against the risk of an increasingly protectionist and inward-looking U.S.

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End-of-Nafta Jitters Emerge in Remote Corner of Global Markets

By Jen Skerritt
Bloomberg Markets
October 13, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

There have been few signs in financial markets that the prospect of an unraveling of the Nafta trade accord is worrying investors. …Now, those jitters are surfacing in a somewhat obscure corner of global markets — the lumber industry. Lumber futures soared to a 13-year high on Friday, getting a fresh jolt from the latest U.S. threats of dropping out of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The commodity’s price can be used as a good indicator of Canadian and U.S. trade relations because the countries have already been at an impasse for more than a year over a deal on softwood, with futures closely tracking the tensions. …“The trade file definitely looks uglier this week,” said Paul Quinn, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets in Vancouver. “If Nafta is off the table, it’s going to be very difficult to do anything on softwood lumber.”

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City backs federal government during softwood lumber negotiations

By Bryan Eneas
Prince Albert NOW
October 12, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

The city of Prince Albert is throwing support behind the federal government during NAFTA negotiations with the United States surrounding softwood lumber. A motion put forward by Ward 7 Coun. Dennis Nowoselsky at Tuesday’s council meeting called for Mayor Greg Dionne to urge the government to negotiate a deal which guarantees the U.S. access to Canadian softwood. With the fourth round NAFTA re-negotiation discussions underway, Nowoselsky said his motion asks Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to gather more input from the country’s municipalities. “It’s just saying ‘we support you, we want fair trade for our lumber products,’” he said.

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B.C.’s Trade Envoy to the United States advocates for B.C. forestry jobs in Oregon

Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology
Government of British Columbia
October 13, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

British Columbia Trade Envoy to the United States David Emerson was in Portland, Ore. yesterday advancing B.C.’s interests in the ongoing softwood lumber dispute. Emerson and Canadian Consul-General Brandon Lee discussed how Canada and B.C. can work together to defend common interests in the United States and advocate for resolution of trade disputes. The pair met with Senator Jeff Merkley to reinforce how British Columbia and Canada can help meet the U.S. consumer demand for quality lumber products. U.S. domestic lumber production is currently not meeting U.S. demand, despite the increase in production over the last year. Emerson and Lee also met with Governor Kate Brown’s policy advisors and senior congressional staffers. Oregon is an important market in the U.S. for B.C. softwood lumber products.

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B.C. log exporter sues Chinese owned supplier over bad shipment, failure to pay federal deductions

By Derrick Penner
The Vancouver Sun
October 13, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

British Columbian log exporter Northcrest Energy Corp. is suing the B.C. subsidiary of a Chinese company over allegations the company duped the exporter into financing its operations to supply logs to a customer in China and delivered inferior product. In a statement of claim filed with the Supreme Court of B.C. in New Westminster, Northcrest president Baljit Gill said representatives of the supplier, Richmond-headquartered Canada Forest Industrial Group Ltd., led her to believe that it was a substantial company with deep financial resources. In Aug. 2016, Gill said in the statement that she signed a contract to buy logs from Canada Forest for export to a company in China in a transaction that would see Northcrest pay Canada Forest’s employees and subcontractors for credits toward the purchase. Under those terms, Gill said in the statement that she paid $3.2 million for payroll and camp services, but hasn’t received credit for that.

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Irving constitutional challenge a threat to pollution rules

CBC News
October 13, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada East, Canada

Irving Pulp and Paper’s plan to launch a constitutional challenge to Canada’s environmental regulations is expected to shine a bright light on water pollution standards for mills across the country. The company, which has a mill at the Reversing Falls in Saint John, is charged under the Fisheries Act with 15 counts of dumping a harmful substance into the St. John River. If convicted of all charges, the company will face a minimum fine of $3 million. Irving’s defence will include a direct Charter challenge against the way a water pollution test used nationwide for several decades is applied by Environment Canada in its pollution regulations. … In its Charter challenge, Irving is asking the court to strike down sections of the Fisheries Act tied to the lethality test when it comes to pulp and paper mills.

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OSB Prices Spike as Lumber Increases Tap the Breaks

By John McManus
Builder Online
October 13, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: United States

Budgeting direct input costs on materials and labor for 2018 could hardly be more challenging. Policy uncertainties on immigration, on trade, on taxation, on regulation make projecting expenses a fool’s errand. …Here’s a report from National Association of Home Builders economics department analyst David Logan on key readings from the lastest Bureal of Labor Statistics Producer Price Index (PPI), focusing on two important commodities for builders, OSB and softwood lumber. Logan zeroes in on OSB specifically because it seems to have de-coupled from a number of other materials costs, even as economy-wide producer prices inched up 0.4% in September.

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U.S. timber industry failing to invest in research and development, report says

By Rob Chaney
The Missoulian
October 15, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: United States, US West

A group of industry analysts finds the U.S. forest products industry has fallen far behind in producing new things out of wood. “Many traditional forest product markets have matured or declined,” the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities report stated. “Yet the sector’s research and development funding — essential to innovation — has fallen and its R&D capacity has withered.” The report, released on Oct. 6, found the wood products sector invested just six-tenths of a percent of its sales revenue toward research and development, while the U.S. manufacturing sector average was six times as much. Specific industries like biomedicine spend 12 percent or more. …Todd Morgan at the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research said that problem grew as the timber industry moved away from its historical “vertically integrated” corporate structure.

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Pulp by product could be new source of revenue for forestry industry

By Mariah Powell
Upper Michigan Source
October 13, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: US East, United States

QUINNESEC, Mich. Forestry and chemistry experts discuss a new source of profit for the forestry industry. Executive Director for the Michigan Forest Biomaterials Institute spoke …about what this could mean for the Upper Peninsula economy. “So we think that could be both; maintaining what we have and growing new jobs,” said Mark Rudnicki. A pulp by product could bring a new source of revenue to Michigan’s forestry industry. Experts in forestry, chemistry, government and industry gathered this week to discuss possible uses for lignin. “It’s really been an excellent opportunity to get a number of people from both academia as well as industry together to talk about what it is we can do to help utilize what is currently and underutilized product in the forestry sector, which is the lignin,” said Michigan State University Biochemistry professor Eric Hegg.

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Greenpeace blocks SCA Östrand pulp mill

EUWID
October 16, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: International

Greenpeace activists are protesting against the alleged destruction of “the last critical forest landscapes in northern Sweden.” Today, the activists of Greenpeace Nordic have blocked the entrances to the SCA Östrand pulp mill in Timrå, Sweden, in order to protest against what they call destruction of the “last critical forest landscapes in northern Sweden.” Greenpeace alleges that the SCA Östrand pulp mill, which is also supplying pulp to the tissue maker Essity, is sourcing its wood from logging companies that are destroying forests declared by the Swedish government as being of “particularly high ecological preservation values.” 

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Māori forestry firm claims regional development stardom

By Lois Williams
Radio New Zealand News
October 14, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: International

Taitokerau Forests Limited was founded in 1986 when the then Labour government agreed to advance mortgage finance to grow trees on marginal Māori land in the north. …Thirty years on, most of the trees have been harvested and the government loan repaid, with interest. Taitokerau Forests chair Rawson Wright, of Ngāti Whātua, said in retrospect it was a brilliant scheme and remarkable for the collaboration of the many hapu and iwi groups involved. “The company structure was strong; iwi politics was set aside at the board table,” he said.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Backers of biomass project say they are paying bills, back taxes and ‘not going anywhere’

By Tux Turkel
Portland Press Herald
October 13, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Kimberly Samaha

The husband and wife behind an ambitious vision of transforming Maine’s forest industry into a fuel- and food-based bioeconomy say they have spent more than $17 million of their own money to refurbish and diversify two ailing wood-fired power plants, are committed to completing the projects, and are working to settle unpaid bills and back taxes. “We’re all in,” said Kimberly Samaha, chief executive officer of Born Global, an entity associated with Stored Solar LLC, which bought the plants in West Enfield and Jonesboro last year. …After declining to answer questions from the media…, the Samahas agreed to be interviewed because they say the coverage omitted some important explanations and they want to send a message to Mainers and potential investors to counter a steady stream of reports about setbacks to their business plans.

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University of Georgia study says biomass energy not feasible in U.S.

By Olivia Adams
The Red & Black
October 15, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Wood pellets used for biomass energy, an alternative to fossil fuels, are produced right outside of Athens, but do not expect to see biomass energy adopted here. Those pellets are shipped straight to Europe, and new University of Georgia research shows why. “With global warming, we really want to reduce carbon emissions,” said Dr. Richard Bin Mei, co-author of a study on biomass-produced electricity. “In the United States, unfortunately, we do not have the mandate or government subsidies, so our study looked at whether it is economically feasible to co-fire wood pellets with coal to produce power, and the answer is no, unless the government does the same thing as the EU.” …They determined that it is economically prohibitive to convert coal firing plants to biomass in the United States without government subsidies.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Athena Sustainable Materials Institute Celebrates 20 Years of Innovation in the Green Building Sector

By Athena Sustainable Materials Institute
Canada Newswire
October 16, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada

OTTAWA – The Athena Sustainable Materials Institute, headquartered in Ottawa, Canada and with a US affiliate in Pennsylvania, is a leading pioneer in the Green Building Sector and proud to have been on the forefront of sustainability metrics for two decades. This small non-profit has had significant industry impact over the past decades in the following ways: The Athena Institute started a revolution in green building design with its free tools for true cradle-to-grave environmental impact measurement of new construction; As pioneers of life cycle assessment (LCA) for the built environment, the Athena Institute is transforming tactics and accountability in green design; Thousands of design professionals, sustainability consultants and students are using the Athena Impact Estimator for buildings – the first, most comprehensive, and the only free LCA tool for the North American design and construction sector.

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The father of British furniture on 40 years of Parnham College

By John-Michael O’Sullivan
The Guardian
October 15, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Opened four decades ago, Parnham College in Dorset founded by John Makepeace, quietly transformed British design. It started with a table: a low, glass-topped timber square designed to be easily dismantled and folded into a crate (see picture below). Sold through Heal’s in the early 1960s for the princely sum of £6, it was furniture designer John Makepeace’s first big success. …Bidding to create a more functional perspective on design education, Makepeace set up the School for Craftsmen in Wood, which opened its doors in the grounds of Parnham House, a dilapidated Tudor manor, in autumn 1977. To realise his ambitions, Makepeace roped in eminent supporters, such as violinist Yehudi Menuhin and theatre director Peter Hall, and brought together an eclectic mix of designers, craftsmen and teachers to shape a curriculum with a uniquely holistic approach.

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