Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: June 28, 2018

Today’s Takeaway

Cause of deadly Denver construction site fire still ‘undetermined’, framers ruled out

The Tree Frog Forestry News
June 28, 2018
Category: Today's Takeaway

The cause of a deadly under-construction apartment building fire in Denver remains undetermined, although investigators have ruled out most construction-related causes, including framers. In related news; McDonald’s use of CLT in Chicago is called “one of the most extensive uses of wood in a commercial building since the Great Chicago Fire of 1871″.

In Forestry news: NRDC’s campaign to pressure Canada to protect boreal forests gains the likes of Gap, Hallmark, Clif Bar and H&M; Senators Daines and Tester agree on the benefits of the US farm bill; Norway pledges to combat illegal deforestation; and (according to National Geographic) “tropical forest loss slowed in 2017—to the second worst total ever”.

Finally, more on NAFTA, steel, wood and newsprint tariffs; and a background report to Congress on Canada, focusing on issues relevant to US policymakers.

–Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog News

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Business & Politics

A new NAFTA won’t protect Canada from Trump’s trade agenda

By Lawrence Herman, C.D Howe Institute
The Globe and Mail
June 27, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Lawrence Herman

If there’s any glimmer of hope for NAFTA under the darkening days of the Trump presidency – and there’s not much − it’s that Canada and the United States, after a lull of several weeks, agreed to re-engage in negotiations this summer. …Even taking the most optimistic view that a new NAFTA can emerge sometime in 2019, with the difficult Canada-U.S. issues resolved, the question remains whether and to what extent any such deal will bring settled peace on the bilateral trade front. The answer is: not much. Even with updates… nothing will reduce – let alone eliminate – the right of the United States to use trade remedies against Canadian exports if and when it wants to. This right is embedded in NAFTA. …It was because of that unbridled right that NAFTA did nothing to curtail the softwood-lumber dispute re-merging twice since 1994.

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Report to Congress on U.S.-Canada Relations

US Naval Institute News
June 27, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Harjit Sajjan and Jim Mattis

The following is the June 14, 2018 Congressional Research Service report, Canada-U.S. Relations. …The report presents an overview of Canada’s political situation, foreign and security policy, and economic and trade policy, focusing particularly on issues that may be relevant to US policymakers. [which includes forest products trade]. …Relations between the United States and Canada traditionally have been close, bound together by a common 5,500-mile border—“the longest undefended border in the world”—as well as by shared history and values. The countries have long-standing mutual security commitments under the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), and continue to work together to address international security challenges, such as the Islamic State insurgency in Iraq and Syria.

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Ottawa pledges support for industries caught in trade war with United States

By Bill Curry and Steven Chase
The Globe and Mail
June 27, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

Bill Morneau

With just days to go before Canada imposes retaliatory tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of U.S. imports, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said Ottawa will provide help to some Canadian business owners and workers affected by the escalating trade war with the United States. The minister made the comments after a meeting with his provincial and territorial counterparts, where Canada’s deteriorating trade relationship with the United States was the top issue on the agenda. Mr. Morneau declined to provide specifics regarding the type of compensation under consideration or which industries would qualify. …Ottawa has previously supported government programs for industries affected by trade disputes, such as last year’s decision to help lumber producers after the United States imposed new tariffs on softwood lumber imports.

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Union members at Powell River mill vote on contract

The Powell River Peak
June 27, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Catalyst Paper Corporation Unifor Local 1 employees met on June 25 to vote on a new tentative contract. Local 76 members met the same day to review the tentative agreement and were expected to vote on June 27. According to a Local 1 source, members are torn by the deal presented. There are wage increases through four years, but concessions are included.  Union members were hoping for increases plus gains from the last concessions workers gave in the 2012 rollback contract. The source said Unifor will likely announce the results of the vote on Friday, June 29.  

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Penticton CEO not knocking on wood as steel tariffs continue

By Dustin Godfrey
The Penticton Western News
June 27, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

A Penticton-based wood construction executive isn’t counting on any significant windfall for his business as steel tariffs continue in an escalating trade dispute between Canada and the U.S. However, Hardy Wentzel, CEO of Penticton wood construction company Structurlam, did say developers may take a second look at wood for their structures down the line. …While tariffs only directly apply to U.S.-Canada traded steel, Wentzel noted that when the cost of U.S. steel goes up in Canada, domestic steel trade will rise in price to match that of their U.S. competitors. …Wentzel said Structurlam has largely skirted the [softwood] duties on their own products because those duties don’t often target products with value added — products like steel or wood with additional production stages to create an enhanced product.

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Vicksburg Forest Products Remodeling Vicksburg, Mississippi, Lumber Mill

Area Development News Desk
June 21, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Vicksburg Forest Products is opening a lumber mill in Vicksburg, Mississippi. After significant upgrades and modifications are complete, the multi-million dollar corporate investment will create 125 jobs. In March 2018, Anderson Tully Company announced the closure of its Vicksburg operations as of May 15th. Jackson-based Vicksburg Forest Products purchased the assets associated with Anderson Tully and is investing in significant plant upgrades.Once operational, Vicksburg Forest Products will manufacture Southern Yellow Pine lumber with a goal of producing up to 100-million board feet per shift. The company plans to purchase raw materials from a number of landowners in the surrounding area. …Vicksburg Forest Products’ ownership group has significant manufacturing experience with Southern Yellow Pine with ownership in Southeastern Timber Products in Ackerman.

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Tariffs threaten American jobs

By Chris Brady, Editor
Milton Standard-Journal
June 27, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Pennsylvania — In recent days, newspaper publishers and owners trekked to Capitol Hill to speak to members of Congress and their aides about the debilitating tariffs on Canadian newsprint. …American companies are being hurt, as many have seen with an iconic American brand — Harley-Davidson — in recent days. Harley-Davidson has a facility in York. Even closer to home, the effects of tariffs have become even more alarming. Last year, the Trump administration imposed tariffs on Canadian lumber, then just months later, added tariffs on Canadian uncoated groundwood paper. …The American Forest and Paper Association is opposed to the tariffs, as is the Pennsylvania News Media Association.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Cause of deadly Denver construction site fire ‘undetermined’; investigators seeking additional tips

By Kurt Sevits
The Denver Channel
June 27, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

DENVER – The cause of a large fire that killed two workers at an under-construction apartment building in Denver earlier this year remains undetermined, firefighters said Wednesday. Denver Fire Department Public Information Officer Greg Pixley said in a news conference that investigators… have yet to pinpoint a cause, though investigators were able to determine that the fire started on the building’s third floor. Sixty-one construction workers were on the site at 18th and Emerson when the fire broke out around noon on Mar. 7, Pixley said. All but two workers were able to escape the fire, which spread quickly due to the building’s wood-frame construction. …Investigators have been able to rule out many construction-related causes, Pixley said, including framers, welders, plumbers, drywall workers, insulation workers and electricians.

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SFI and Habitat for Humanity DC team up to build homes in the nation’s capital

By the Sustainable Forestry Initiative
Treehugger
June 27, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

A diverse team of women from the forest product sector got together for a green cause. The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) is passionate about forests and sustainable forest products being used for projects that improve the shared quality of life of people all over the world. Last week, working with its partner, Habitat for Humanity, SFI put this passion into action with a team build in DC’s Southeast neighborhood which has a low homeownership rate compared to the DC average. On June 20, a “Women in Wood” Build Day was led by Kathy Abusow, SFI’s President and CEO. She was joined by a diverse team of women from the forest products sector, who all share a passion for making a difference in their communities and a positive impact on the environment.

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McDonald’s Project Features Chicago’s First Cross-Laminated Timbers

By Jeff Yoders
Engineering News Record
June 27, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Crews from general contractor Walter Daniels recently installed a cross-laminated timber deck for a 19,000-sq-ft McDonald’s restaurant in Chicago. The work marked the first use of CLT as a structural material in a Chicago commercial building and one of the most extensive uses of wood in a commercial building since the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. …Asif Rahman, Chicago’s deputy buildings commissioner, “was very open to the idea and even helped us look at all the requirements, making sure we were going to fall within what was allowed by the code,” Brewer says. …Other CLT projects are on drawing boards. The tallest is an 80-story residential building, designed by architect Perkins+Will with structural engineer Thornton Tomasetti, called River Beech Tower that uses CLT and glue-laminated timber.

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Forestry

Major companies urge Canadian government to protect boreal forests and caribou

By Melanie Green
The Star Vancouver
June 26, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

VANCOUVER — Seventeen major companies — the likes of Gap, Hallmark, Clif Bar & Company and H&M — that use paper and pulp products, have signed a letter urging the Canadian government to legally protect threatened areas and species of the boreal forests. In a letter dated June 22, the companies expressed concern that the lack of enforceable protections for boreal woodland caribou risks undermining Canada as a “responsible option” for their sourcing, citing the degradation of habitat that contributes to global climate instability and goes against the wishes of Indigenous peoples. The companies stated they were “concerned by the lack of action” by Canada’s federal and provincial governments to protect the habitat of the species threatened by rapid population decline.

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Daines, Tester tout work on farm bill proposal Daily Inter Lake

By Scott Shindledecker
Daily Inter Lake
June 27, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Steve Daines

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines hopes one of his amendments to the Senate’s proposed farm bill will create economic growth in the sagging timber industry in Northwest Montana. The Montana Republican hosted a media teleconference Tuesday afternoon on the efforts to pass the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018. The U.S. House last week narrowly passed its version of the bill. The Senate will debate its own version of the farm bill today. One of Daines’ amendments to the Senate bill calls for pilot arbitration that would allow the Forest Service’s Region 1 to use arbitration two times a year to streamline solutions to objections to timber sales. …The senator also touted that the proposed bill would legalize the production of industrial hemp, which he said would boost and diversify Montana’s agriculture economy.

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US allows Nestle to keep taking water from California forest

By Christopher Weber
Associated Press in the Idaho Statesman
June 27, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

LOS ANGELES — U.S. officials offered Nestle, the maker of Arrowhead bottled water, a three-year permit on Wednesday to keep taking millions of gallons of water from a national forest in Southern California — but with new restrictions designed to keep a creek flowing for other uses. The offer announced by the U.S. Forest Service allows Nestle Waters North America, the biggest bottled-water company in the nation, to keep piping water from the Strawberry Creek watershed that it’s tapped for decades. The permit would allow extraction only when water is available to protect natural resources in the San Bernardino National Forest northeast of Los Angeles. Use could be restricted if the state’s scattered drought conditions worsen.

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Latest farm bill protects Montana’s interests, Daines and Tester agree

By Tom Lutey
Helena Independent Record
June 27, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Sen. Tester and Daines

The U.S. Senate version of the farm bill delivers for Montana agriculture and forests, the state’s two senators said Tuesday. Sens. Steve Daines, Republican, and Jon Tester, Democrat, say they have amendments to the 2018 farm bill as the bill goes to the floor for debate, but mostly they see the state’s interests protected. …The bill includes the Conservation Reserve Program, which is the federal government’s largest wildlife habitat program, and also the budget for the U.S. Forrest Service programs. …Daines said he will propose changes to the forestry portion of the farm bill in the coming days to reduce the number of lawsuits against timber projects. Daines wants the Forest Service to use binding arbitration to settle disputes over projects that were collaboratively developed to address hazardous fuels or insect and disease reduction.

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Norway: US$16.6 million to combat illegal deforestation

By Jan M. Olsen
Associated Press in CTV News
June 27, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

COPENHAGEN — Norway pledged Wednesday 145 million kroner (US$16.6 million) to an international partnership to combat illegal deforestation and help reach Paris climate accord goals. Climate and Environment Minister Ola Elvestuen says deforestation is a multi-million business for criminals that cut down invaluable tropical forests, adding “their activities have detrimental consequences for sustainable development in rainforest nations and the global climate.” He says “halting and reversing land degradation and tropical deforestation could provide up to 30 per cent of the climate change solution.” Elvestuen told the Oslo Tropical Forest Forum that the partnership includes Interpol, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and a U.N.-supported centre combatting illegal deforestation.

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Tropical Forest Loss Slowed in 2017—To the Second Worst Total Ever

By Stephen Leahy
National Geographic
June 27, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

…In tropical regions around the world, tree cover is disappearing that quickly: Every minute of every day over the last two years, a tract the size of 40 football fields was clear-cut or burned to increase production of soy, cattle, palm oil, and wood products. Despite efforts to reduce tropical deforestation, tree cover loss has nearly doubled over the past 15 years. In 2017, 39 million acres (15.8 million hectares) disappeared — an area close to the size of Washington State — according to new data released Wednesday by the research group World Resources Institute (WRI) at the Oslo Tropical Forest Forum, where 500 forest experts and policymakers are meeting about the issue. The latest total was second only to 2016, the worst-ever year of tropical forest loss with 41.7 million acres (16.9 million hectares).

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Forest Fires

Forest fire 15 kilometres from Lynn Lake prompts voluntary evacuations

Thompson Citizen
June 27, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

A lightning-caused wildfire that had moved to within 15 kilometres of Lynn Lake June 26 prompted a voluntary evacuation by nearly 100 residents of nearby Marcel Colomb Cree Nation as well as for town residents with health concerns or breathing difficulties. …Nineteen new fires had started province-wide in the previous 24 hours up to June 26, including 13 in the northeast region and four in the northwest region. Lightning caused all the new northwest region fires, and all but one of the northeast region fires, with the other being human-caused. There were 27 fires burning in the northeast region June 26, including two classified as out of control, two being held and five under control. Eleven other fires were being watched and no action was being taken on the remaining seven. The northwest region had five fires burning, including two that were out of control, two under control and one being watched.

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North Idaho could be next for extreme wildfire

By Chase Watson
Shoshone News Press
June 27, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Could this year’s summer be the one where North Idaho burns? Some experts believe that it is definitely possible, but it seems that eliminating the human threat may be the biggest step toward keeping that from happening. …North Idaho is projected to see some of the largest uptick in total area burned in the entire Western United States. …Shoshone County itself accounts for much of the North Idaho wilderness — covering 2,635 square miles of land, but only sporting roughly 12,500 residents. …Forest management agencies such as IDL and the United States Forest Service work hard to remove as many potential fuels as they can before fire season by utilizing controlled burn and logging operations, but there is only so much that can be done when it comes to mother nature (and human behavior).

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Putnam says firm hired by state caused wildfire

By Jim Turner
WJXT News4JAX
June 27, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: US East, United States

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A firm hired by a state agency to conduct a prescribed burn sparked a weekend wildfire that burned 820 acres and 36 homes in Northwest Florida, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which hired the firm, announced it had suspended its prescribed-burn program statewide as it investigates the wildfire in Franklin County.  Putnam announced that an investigation by his Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement put the cause of the Eastpoint fire on a prescribed burn conducted by Wildland Fire Services, Inc., which had a contract with the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Putnam’s said investigators had looked into other possible causes, such as lightning, arson or a blaze accidentally started by a person.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

From Neutral to Negative

By Patrick Miller
Biomass Magazine
June 27, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Andy Koss

Carbon dioxide capture and storage technologies [offer] the potential to transform carbon-neutral biomass power plants into carbon-negative facilities. …In May, Drax announced plans to build a first-of-its-kind bioenergy carbon capture storage project in Europe, which, in the long-term, could result in the generation of carbon-negative electricity at Drax’s biomass-fired power station in North Yorkshire, U.K. …“The biomass we use is considered to be carbon neutral because it is sourced from sustainable, working forests which are growing and absorbing carbon,” says Andy Koss, Drax Power CEO. “The majority of the biomass that we use comes from the U.S. South, where sustainable forest management means that trees are growing faster than they are being harvested, resulting in a net decrease of carbon in the atmosphere. …”

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