Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: April 17, 2018

Today’s Takeaway

US builder confidence slides but strong demand keeps builders optimistic

The Tree Frog Forestry News
April 17, 2018
Category: Today's Takeaway

US builder confidence index—which foreshadowed the last housing bust—fell for the fourth straight month as lumber tariffs and lot availablability weighed on builder confidence (cup half empty?); but the ratings are still strong and reflect confidence in housing demand (cup half full?). Elsewhere: CN Rail apologizes and seeks solutions for Prince George’s shipping backlog; and Resolute and Unifor reach a tentative four year labour deal

In other news: Skeena Sawmills plans to build a pellet plant in Terrace BC; a Lakeview Oregon plant plans to convert wood waste into aviation fuel; the Canadian wood recycling sector is positioned for growth; and forests and forest products are touted as part of the climate change solution.

Finally, Vancouver has its first certified forest therapy guide: “The forest is the therapist – the guide opens the door“.

–Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

New radio ads from Unifor highlight forestry crisis

By Unifor Canada
Cision Newswire
April 16, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

VICTORIA – Unifor released radio ads today to call on Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr to take action against U.S. tariffs levied last month on paper products from five Canadian mills. “These bully tactics from the Trump administration must be challenged immediately,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “The federal government has no time to waste. Five communities and thousands of workers are waiting for action.” The radio ads feature some of the workers represented by Unifor who stand to lose their livelihoods in Corner Brook and Powell River. …”Inaction is not an option for the Canadian government,” said Joie Warnock, Unifor Western Regional Director. …The radio ads are available on unifor.org/stoptrumptariffs

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Skeena Sawmills to build pellet plant this summer

By Jackie Lieuwen
Terrace Standard
April 17, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

A Terrace-based pellet plant may soon become a reality as Skeena Sawmills moves forward on its plans to begin construction this summer. The mill is reserving its official announcement on the estimated $20-million pellet plant until construction starts, but operations vice-president Roger Keery has confirmed the project is going ahead. “All the major equipment is ordered,” Keery said, estimating that the company has already spent roughly $2 million on permits and equipment deposits. The pellet plant will be built inside the large blue warehouse adjacent to Skeena Sawmills on the west side. …Keery says about 30 per cent of harvested wood is unusable for lumber products, and until now Skeena Sawmills has been loading it into the Kitsumkalum landfill.

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CN Rail investing in regional improvements

By Frank Peebles
The Prince George Citizen
April 16, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Sean Finn

CN Rail is investing big money in the Prince George area this construction season. The national railway’s vice-president of corporate services and chief legal officer Sean Finn was in the city last week for a trio of duties.  The first was to apologize to the region’s wood manufacturers for an unprecedented backlog that has delayed big-ticket products like lumber, pulp chips and bioenergy pellets from getting to market. Secondly, he was on a fact-finding mission to find out how those factories and mills could be better served in a revamped CN Rail shipping model, since the company was injecting billions of dollars into restoring viability to its service. Thirdly, a substantial amount of that money was set for this region. Finn said that $100 million would be invested between Prince George and Prince Rupert this year.

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Private ownership of Nanaimo’s watershed back in focus as water watch group meets with province

By Dominic Abassi
Nanaimo News Now
April 16, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

NANAIMO — A group focused on watershed protection on Vancouver Island says too many people have no idea Nanaimo does not own and has no formal access agreement to the lands which supply the city with its drinking water. Nanaimo’s June Ross, chair of Vancouver Island Water Watch Coalition, is hoping to bring the issue out into the community once again and create further awareness of the more than decade-old efforts of the group. “Nanaimo has a fair amount of water but the thing that disturbs me is: What is there to stop Island Timberlands or TimberWest (owners of the roughly 23,000 hectare watershed) from selling off pieces of that property. …The City of Nanaimo’s Bill Sims said… over his 20 years with Nanaimo, there has always been a positive relationship with the forestry companies which own the watershed. 

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International Wood Industries has received letters of intent for the supply of lumber from five ‘neighbouring’ forests

Gy Gord Young
The North Bay Nugget
April 17, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Hiring is underway for some key positions at a multimillion-dollar sawmill proposed for Bonfield. International Wood Industries (IWI), which is expected to invest approximately $140 million to establish the operation, is seeking managers to oversee the mill, wood fibre procurement, and sales and marketing. …The mill, which is to process both softwood and hardwood, producing lumber as well as value-added products, is expected be up running as of next January, employing 90 people. …In addition to processing, waste from the operation is expected to be used on site to create pellets for home heating. …The proposal includes a partnership with the Ottawa Valley Railway for a spur line, which will be used to help transport the wood products to global markets.

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Resolute Announces Tentative Agreement with Unifor

By Resolute Forest Products Inc.
Cision Newswire
April 16, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

MONTREAL—Resolute Forest Products Inc. today announced that a tentative four-year agreement has been reached with Unifor, subject to ratification by their members. Unifor represents the majority of hourly employees working across the company’s Canadian pulp and paper operations. The master agreement covers eight of Resolute’s Canadian pulp and paper mills. The agreement applies to the Amos, Baie-Comeau, Dolbeau, Gatineau, Kénogami and Saint-Félicien facilities in Quebec, as well as the Thunder Bay mill and currently indefinitely idled Thorold operation in Ontario. “We are pleased that we have reached a tentative agreement with Unifor national and local leadership that recognizes the contribution of employees to the success of the business and provides stability for our customers, shareholders, communities and other company partners,” said Yves Laflamme, president and chief executive officer.

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Is lumber trade war hurting U.S. construction industry?

By Karl D. Forth
Woodworking Network
April 16, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

Higher wood costs are one factor in making housing more expensive, too expensive for some potential buyers. The National Association of Homebuilders is not happy with President Donald Trump’s high tariffs on Canadian lumber which are killing the construction industry, according to NAHB CEO Jerry Howard. …A total of 1.13 million houses are anticipated to be built in 2019 in the United States, 255,000 more than this year, according to the Western Wood Products Association. The number of apartment complexes being constructed annually is expected to drop from about 425,000 this year to 402,000 in 2019, according to the association. …Recent data from the Census Bureau confirms that millennials are increasingly entering the housing market as first-time buyers, according to NAHB. …“How do housing sales affect our furniture and cabinet industries?” Wengert said. “Obviously, with fewer homes being built and sold, there is a smaller demand for cabinets, flooring and new furniture.

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Strong housing demand keeps builders optimistic in future

By Kelsey Ramirez
Housing Wire
April 16, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

Builder confidence edged down slightly in April as supply places a strain on builders, however confidence in the future remains on solid ground as homebuyer demand continues to surge, according to the latest Housing Market Index from the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo. …“Strong demand for housing is keeping builders optimistic about future market conditions,” NAHB Chairman Randy Noel said. “However, builders are facing supply-side constraints, such as a lack of buildable lots and increasing construction material costs. Tariffs placed on Canadian lumber and other imported products are pushing up prices and hurting housing affordability.” …“Ongoing employment gains, rising wages and favorable demographics should spur demand for single-family homes in the months ahead,” NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz said.

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Home builder confidence slides for fourth straight month

Market Watch
April 16, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

The National Association of Home Builders’ monthly confidence gaugeticked down one point to a reading of 69 in April, the group said Monday. The closely-watched sentiment tracker from the home builder lobby group hit its highest point since 1999 in December, and has fallen every month since then. …In April, the sub-gauge of current sales conditions fell two points to 75, and the index of future sales expectations edged down one point to 77. The tracker of buyer traffic was unchanged at 51. Any reading over 50 signals improving conditions. The 69 reading is still quite strong. In the go-go days of the housing bubble, between 2004 and 2005, sentiment averaged 68. Still… When NAHB’s index started to fall in late 2005, it was one of the signals that foreshadowed the coming housing bust.

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Lumber tariffs, available lots weigh on builder confidence

By Steve Randall
The Mortgage Professional America
April 17, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

The ability of America’s builders to supply homes that are affordable remains hampered by costs and availability. Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes slipped in April as the increased cost of Canadian lumber due to tariffs, and weak availability of lots. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index was at a level of 69, down 1 point from March. However, market fundamentals remain strong. “Ongoing employment gains, rising wages and favorable demographics should spur demand for single-family homes in the months ahead,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. …Although the measure of buyer traffic is unchanged this month compared to last, the current and future (6 months’ time) measures are both down.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Timbre Tonewood supplies luthiers with top quality B.C. cedar, spruce and maple

CBC News
April 16, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

David Lapeyrouse has an ear tuned to the ring of a good piece of cedar, or a well-graded sheet of spruce. He runs Timbre Tonewood in Abbotsford, B.C., a mill and wholesale wood business that supplies tonewoods to instrument manufacturers, big and small. His biggest clients are in China where guitar-making has blossomed in recent years, and by David’s reckoning, B.C. supplies the majority of the world’s guitar-tops to the global market. …The old growth spruce and cedar that his customers need are a diminishing resource, so their value is on the rise. “Cutting this wood is kind of like diamond mining. There’s different grades of diamonds. It’s very rare. It’s very valuable,” he said.

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Canadian wood recycling sector positions itself for growth

By Rick Leblanc
Recycling Product News
April 17, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

There’s a lot more to wood recycling than shredding, screening and grinding. The state of wood recycling continues to evolve, according to Jim Donaldson, CEO of the Alberta-based Canadian Wood Waste Recycling Business Group (CWWR). Practices are well established in the forest industry for converting sawmill residuals into fibre applications such as pulp and paper and waste-to-energy, but overall, the development of wood recycling in Canada is still in its infancy.  According to Donaldson, wood recycling industry infrastructure in Europe is much more advanced. In North America, factors such as the relatively cheap availability of virgin timber and the acceptance of wood by landfills have slowed the momentum for wood recycling industry growth. Interest has continued to grow, however. …Recent research from the Technical University of Munich supports the idea that the sustainability case for wood is improved through “cascading use.” 

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Modular design chosen for Montréal’s new transit network

Construction Canada
April 17, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

One of North America’s largest public transportation projects, the Réseau Express Métropolitain (REM) hopes to transform the public transport experience in the Greater Montréal Region with its architecture and design. Construction has already begun on the network that will connect Montréal-Trudeau International Airport with Montréal’s downtown core as well as the south and north shores of the Greater Montréal Region. Lemay, Perkins+Will, and Bisson Fortin have designed an integrated, sustainable system of light-rail train stations, woven into urban, industrial, and natural landscapes, as part of NouvLR General Partnership’s contract for the 67-km (41.6-mi) network. …Wood is employed in every station’s ceiling, adding warmth and esthetic continuity while celebrating Québec’s timber industry.

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Trendspotting: Welcome to the Ever-Trending World of Mass Timber

By Daedalus Howell
School Construction News
April 16, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Welcome to the ever-trending world of “mass timber.” Mass timber is the wood du jour for projects like the 708-bed residence halls at the University of Arkansas, now under construction in Fayetteville. The residence halls feature exposed, locally harvested structural elements made from this wonder wood. …These include cross-laminated timber (CLT), nail-laminated timber, glue-laminated timber, dowel-laminated timber or glulam panels for floor and wall framing, according to the website reThink WOOD (produced by the The Softwood Lumber Board, a Washington-based industry funded group that promotes uses of softwood lumber products). …The University of Arkansas project used CLT for its wooden columns, beams and cross-bracing, which are all visible in the interior of the facility. 

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Timber treaters urged to unlock “creative freedom”

Timber Trades Journal
April 17, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

The timber treatment sector has been urged to unlock its “creative freedom” and better communicate the benefits of treated wood during the annual Wood Protection Association (WPA) Conference in Derby. …Meanwhile, a presentation by Exova’s Phil O’Leary on cross-laminated timber (CLT) led to an interesting debate among delegates as to whether CLT should be preservative-treated. Mr O’Leary shared some examples of water ingress/high moisture readings in CLT ground floor and roof panels where poor construction site detailing and practice was experienced. These examples were from large and complex build projects featuring complicated junction and connection details. WPA director Steve Young said wood preservatives could have a role in treating external CLT wall panels.

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Could timber skyscrapers rise across Asia Pacific?

By Serene Lim
JLL Real Views
April 17, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Japan is no stranger to wooden buildings; it’s home to Horyuji, a pagoda noted for being the oldest wooden structure in the world. In the coming years, the country could boost its wooden architecture credentials further amid plans for the world’s tallest wooden skyscraper, rising 70 storeys and 350 metres above Tokyo – a height that would also take the title of Japan’s tallest building. The only catch is that the architects have an end date of 2041 in mind – giving plenty of time for other cities to plan for their own wooden skyscrapers. …But aside from developments in Australia, Japan and New Zealand, the rest of region is yet to embrace timber buildings. “It takes time to build up critical mass in terms of experience, willingness to pursue this style of design,” observes Matthew Clifford, Head of Energy and Sustainability Services, JLL Asia Pacific. 

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Forestry

Riding the tide of political will to maximize biodiversity research investment

By Cornelya Klütsch and Catarina Ferreira
iPolitics
April 16, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

After 18 years of operation, the closure of the Global Forest Watch (GFW) Canada, announced November 2017 due to lack of funding, highlights one of the most fundamental structural flaws in contemporary biodiversity research at the national and international levels. As part of a wider initiative by the World Resources Institute to monitor the state of global forests, GFW Canada compiled and provided high quality, open access forest data and maps to the public, scientists, and government agencies. Other endeavours, like the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) $100 million Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiment–Tropics (NGEE-Tropics) …will shut down 7 years ahead of time in 2018 because of changes in the U.S. budget following the 2016 election.

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Caribou have almost vanished from the U.S. — a warning for Canada

By Bob Keating
CBC News
April 16, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, United States

The southern mountain caribou is on the verge of disappearing from the American landscape — and that’s a dire warning to Canada, scientists say. Last week, biologists flew over southern British Columbia to count the number of caribou in the last remaining herd that migrates south from B.C. to the U.S. — the South Selkirk herd — and what they saw stunned them. B.C.’s caribou herd declined by more than 15 per cent over one year and the only herd that ranges into the contiguous U.S. is down to just three animals. …”It looks pretty dire, to be honest,” said Nelson, B.C., conservationist Candace Batycki. …The caribou are now the single most endangered mammal in the U.S. One avalanche, voracious wolf pack or even traffic accident and they are gone.

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Vancouver’s first certified forest therapy guide launches walk series

By Melissa Shaw – Vancouver is Awesome
Richmond News
April 16, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Studies have shown that spending time in nature can improve mental and physical health. Ken Ouendag experienced the healing power of nature firsthand and wants to help others through his work as a certified forest therapy guide. …In October he competed a program in California with the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides & Programs. The program was founded in 2012 by M. Amos Clifford and combines the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku or “forest bathing” with wilderness guiding. The program allowed him to combine his work as a recreational therapy assistant with his sea kayaking and outdoor educator program experience to become the first certified forest therapy guide in the Lower Mainland. Ouendag is running a five-week therapy walk series through Lighthouse Park and Stanley Park.

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Saskatoon steps up fight on tree killing pest

By Danny Kerslake
CBC News
April 16, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Saskatoon’s urban forest is under attack by a foreign invader. “It feeds by sucking the juices out of the plant tissue,” said city entomologist Jeff Boone. This vampire-like invader is the Cottony ash psyllid, a tiny yellow-green pest that first arrived in Saskatoon back in 2006. This year it is expected to claim 1,000 trees in the city. The pest targets mostly black and mancana ash, of which there are about 7,000 in the city. …Only trees found to have lost more than half their foliage will be removed. Trees with less damage will be left, in hopes they might recover. Susceptible tress will be injected with an insecticide to try to keep the Cottony ash psyllid from taking root.

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Dry spring means potential increase of wildfires in Newfoundland and Labrador

The Telegram
April 16, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

The provincial government is warning of an increased risk of wildfires occurring earlier than normal this year. Conditions are expected to be drier than they typically are this spring because of lower than usual snowpack, a release from the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources issued on Friday, April 13 stated. The situation could be compounded if there is little rainfall this spring. The 2018 forest fire season goes into on May 1 and runs until Sept. 30 on the island portion of the province. It will start two weeks later in Labrador, May 15, and also end on Sept. 30. The last time the province experienced similar conditions in 2012 wildfire activity increased. There were 198 wildfires that burned 225,500 hectares on land. The 20-year average is 140 fires and approximately 34,000 hectares burned.

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Forests as a climate solution? Yes, naturally

By Justin Adams and Sophie Beckham
GreenBiz
April 17, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

After decades of anti-deforestation campaigns, many of us may think twice before buying forest products. But is wood use inherently problematic? Forest products are a renewable resource; and if they come from sustainably managed operations — and waste is minimized — wood use is far from an environmental crime. Research also shows that well-managed forests often can store as much carbon as unmanaged forests, making innovative forest management methods a key solution to fighting climate change while supporting local communities and making a profit. In fact, there is increasing evidence that one of the best ways to protect forests is to use them… A viable forest-based economy means more forests. More well-managed forests mean more carbon sequestered from the atmosphere — and that means a better chance at mitigating climate change. This means that the potential for alliances between the conservation and the forest product sectors is significant.

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Tensions grow on conservation, commerce in Ohio’s public forests

By Marion Renault
Record-Courier
April 16, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

…In Ohio and across the country, political clashes have renewed debate over whether industry and conservation can co-exist on public lands — from national treasures such as Bears Ears National Monument in Utah to swaths of Ohio’s Shawnee State Forest.  In the past few years, plans to log and frack in Ohio’s state and national forests have drawn the ire of environmentalists who are calling on officials to prioritize biodiversity, recreation and carbon sequestration in public wild spaces. …State officials are mandated by law to manage the 200,000 acres spawned by Ohio state forests for a range of uses such as recreation, wildlife habitat, soil and water protection and sustainable timber production. Rampant ecological threats — climate change and invasive species chief among them — have only exacerbated the pressure.

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SNEAKY AND SINISTER Spotted lanternfly threatens Pa. farm, forest industries

By Wendy Solomon
Lehigh Valley Business
April 16, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

…Sullivan’s job has changed ever since a vibrantly colored insect called the spotted lanternfly showed up not far from here four years ago – the first appearance in the United States of this non-native species. …The concern is the spotted lanternfly’s potential to destroy apples, grapes, stone fruits, hardwood trees and more than 70 other species of plants. State and local officials are worried the spotted lanternfly could wreak havoc on Pennsylvania’s $18 billion agricultural and forest industries. …State Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding is concerned that if spotted lanternfly problems spreads farther in Pennsylvania, the state could eventually be subject to trade restrictions by countries reluctant to import its products.

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A new program begins for forest property owners

Greenfield Recorder
April 16, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Land owners wondering how to protect their wooded property while continuing to benefit from sustainable timber harvests now have another option: the New England Forestry Foundation of Littleton, Mass. Private forest owners can receive lifetime income while ensuring permanent protection for their forests through the foundation’s responsible management and its Pooled Timber Income Fund, according to fund managers. Participants donate their woodlands to the foundation, and the timber on it contributes to a pooled income fund from which donors receive an even stream of lifetime income and an initial charitable tax deduction. On the death of all beneficiaries, the timber reverts to the foundation, and the donor’s lands become part of the foundation’s network of more than 140 community forests.

 

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Siberian wildfires engulf 3,500 hectares in Trans-Baikal Region

TASS Russian News Agency
April 17, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

CHITA—The area affected by forest fires in Russia’s Trans-Baikal Region has doubled over the past 24 hours to reach 3,500 hectares, the press service of the regional Ministry of Natural Resources reported on Tuesday. “As of 8:00 am local time, 13 forest fires on a total area of 3,490 hectares are raging in the area. Of these, five wildfires on a total area of 1,180 hectares have been localized. There is no immediate threat to (the surrounding) inhabited communities,” the press service said. A total of 305 people and 52 units of equipment have been involved in the firefighting effort.

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$830,000 funding from MPI for Gisborne erosion control

By The Ministry of Primary Industries
Scoop Independent News
April 17, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The Ministry for Primary Industries’ Erosion Control Funding Programme (ECFP) is providing $830,000 to the Gisborne District Council to undertake high definition digital 3-D aerial mapping of its region to enable better informed erosion control and business decisions. LiDAR is a remote sensing tool which uses laser pulses to generate large amounts of highly accurate geographical terrain data. “With LiDAR’s accuracy we’ll be able to use better data to accurately assess erosion risks, increase the effectiveness of erosion control treatments, and evaluate the success of past land treatments,” says Ben Dalton, Deputy Director General, Sector Partnerships and Programmes.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Renewable biofuels plant to be built in Southern Oregon

The Associated Press in Oregon Live
April 16, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

LAKEVIEW, Ore. — A company has received final approval to start building a renewable-biofuels plant in south-central Oregon. The facility in Lakeview is expected to convert forestry waste into renewable fuels for the aviation industry. The firm has contracts with FedEx, Southwest Airlines and the U.S. military. Red Rock Biofuels identified Lakeview as a target location in 2013 because of its proximity to rail, highways, the Ruby natural gas pipeline and an abundance of forest debris to be collected and converted to jet fuel. Construction is estimated to take 18 months, with operations planned to start in 2020. …The project got a major boost in January when Oregon Gov. Kate Brown approved $245 million in bonds for Red Rock Biofuels. …In addition to hundreds of construction jobs, the facility is expected to create 30 jobs.

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Health & Safety

RCMP officers who worked Fort McMurray wildfire lacked proper safety masks

By David Thurton
CBC News
April 17, 2018
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

RCMP officers who risked their lives during the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire did not have proper masks to protect them as smoke from forest fires and hundreds of burning buildings choked the city. The RCMP acknowledged the problem in a wildfire review, obtained by CBC News under the Access to Information Act. …RCMP officers complained to the association they didn’t have fitted masks while directing traffic through smoke so thick it turned night into day, or when they went door to door ushering residents out of burning neighbourhoods. Instead, Wood Buffalo RCMP detachment officers had “paper filter” masks, association spokesperson Terry McKee said. …The review, titled K Division Fort McMurray Fire Response 2016 Best Practices and Lessons Learned, said N95 respirators should have been replaced by 3M half-face respirators that “provide a higher level of protection.”

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