Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: November 2, 2018

Today’s Takeaway

On the go: Domtar to close Waco plant, Canfor to curtail BC production, Tolko invests in Mississippi mill

The Tree Frog Forestry News
November 2, 2018
Category: Today's Takeaway

On the go: Domtar announces plan to close its Waco diaper plant next year; Canfor says it will curtail BC’s lumber production in Q4; and Tolko plans to partner with Mississippi’s Southeastern Timber. In other Business news: Resolute says the lumber market crash is close to the bottom; while the US Dept of Commerce says construction spending in September remained flat.

In Forestry news: the US Administration promises to encourage biomass for energy; BC’s use of prescribed burning is criticized after a hazy Halloween; where there’s fire there’s Bruce Blackwell; old-growth logging is proposed in the Tongass; the USDA’s plan to relocate its research office is under review; and Starbucks debuts a tree-inspired Juniper latte.

Finally, Pat Bell (BC’s Forest Minister 2008-2011) says proportional representation–one of the options in BC’s electoral reform vote—is bad for resource development.

–Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Froggy Foibles

Starbucks adds new ‘woodsy’ tree-inspired drink to holiday lineup

By Lindsay William-Ross
The Richmond News
November 1, 2018
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: Canada, Canada West

Pumpkin Spice Lattes are so over. That’s because Starbucks is getting into full festive mode with the return of their holiday drink lineup, along with new cups, and a brand new Northwest-y latte, and it all starts November 2. …For something completely new for 2018, Starbucks is debuting the Juniper Latte, a “woodsy” drink inspired by their Seattle Roastery (which explains the PacNW vibes) that goes along with “the smell of freshly cut trees, a cold breath of winter air, the sound of footsteps crunching on snow” you know from the holiday season, in their words. It’s got an “evergreen aroma” with “hints of sage.”

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Business & Politics

Okanagan company lands south of the border again

The Vernon Morning Star
November 1, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Vernon’s Tolko Industries has entered into a 50-50 joint venture partnership with Southeastern Timber Products (STP), a lumber mill in Ackerman, Mississippi. The mill will be known as Southeastern Timber Products LLC, an STP-Tolko Partnership. “We’re pleased to have found a partner like STP that we share the same family-owned business values with,” said Tolko CEO Brad Thorlakson. “We look forward to the opportunity to invest in this, our second asset in the U.S., to support the future growth of our company. We’re pleased to support this facility and enhance its sales, marketing and logistic capabilities to service our customers across North America and abroad.” STP manager Billy VanDevender is excited to be partnering with Tolko.

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Rotating mill worker strike lands at Tolko Industries Soda Creek Division

By Greg Sabatio and Angie Mindus
The Williams Lake Tribune
November 1, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

About 200 mill workers from Tolko Industries Soda Creek Division in Williams Lake are taking part in a rotating strike Thursday morning. Workers learned of the strike as they arrived for their shift at 5:30 a.m. this morning where they are blocking off three entrances to the mill, holding strike signs and trying to keep warm as temperatures are hovering at 0C with rain. Talks between the United Steelworkers Union Local 1-217 and Interior Forest Labour Relations Association (FLRA) are continuing. …Tolko Industries Soda Creek Division workers are one of several mill sites in the Interior and Northern B.C. represented by the United Steelworkers Union in the negotiations.

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Canfor Temporarily Curtailing BC Operations in Q4

By Canfor Corporation
Cision Newswire
November 1, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER – Canfor Corporation announced today it will be curtailing sawmill operations in British Columbia during Q4 2018 due to log supply constraints, log costs and current market conditions. The curtailment is expected to reduce Canfor’s BC production output by approximately 10% throughout the quarter. “We have made the difficult decision to curtail our BC sawmill operations over the fourth quarter due to log supply challenges following another difficult wildfire season, uncompetitive log costs and declining lumber prices,” said Don Kayne, President and Chief Executive Officer. “We are working to mitigate impacts on our employees as much as possible.” Lumber production will be reduced over the quarter through a decrease in operating days. This will be achieved through immediate short-term curtailments at some facilities, along with extended downtime at Christmas.

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Canfor to curtail sawmill production

The Prince George Citizen
November 1, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Canfor Corp. will be reducing production at its B.C. sawmills by about 10 per cent this quarter, the company said Thursday. “We have made the difficult decision to curtail our BC sawmill operations over the fourth quarter due to log supply challenges following another difficult wildfire season, uncompetitive log costs and declining lumber prices,” Canfor CEO Don Kayne said in a statement. “We are working to mitigate impacts on our employees as much as possible.” …Last week, Canfor reported third-quarter earnings of $125.3 million, doubled from the year before despite lower lumber prices. However, the figure was down from the second quarter when Canfor took in $169.8 million and West Fraser $346 million. The move comes as the union representing about 1,600 workers at 13 northern B.C. sawmills – including Canfor’s PG Sawmill and Isle Pierre sawmills – continue a campaign of rotating strikes in a bid to win a new contract.

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Cleanup continues after effluent pipe leak at Nova Scotia pulp mill: minister

The Canadian Press in the Chronicle Herald
November 1, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

HALIFAX — A faulty pipe that caused an effluent leak at the Northern Pulp mill in Pictou County last month has been repaired, but the cleanup process will require more time, Nova Scotia’s environment minister said Thursday. Margaret Miller said she doesn’t know at this point how large an area was affected by the spill or how many litres of effluent leaked from the pipe. But Miller said the leak is smaller than one that occurred in 2014. “It was only a fraction of what the last spill was,” said Miller. The company has said it was first notified of the leak on Oct. 21, a day after the mill began its annual maintenance shutdown. Miller said her department is continuing to investigate. “We’ve had staff there on a continual basis,” said Miller. “We will continue to follow up.” 

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Lumber Market Crash Is Probably Over, Resolute Forest Says

By Jen Skerritt
Bloomberg
November 1, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

The plunge in lumber prices is probably over, Resolute Forest Products Inc. Chief Executive Officer Yves Laflamme said in an interview. The market is “close” to a bottom, though prices probably won’t rebound to this year’s highs, Laflamme said. Last week, lumber futures tumbled to a 28-month low and have plunged 50 percent from the record in May. That spurred Interfor Corp. to announce plans to reduce output by 20 percent at its British Columbia sawmills. Canfor Corp. on Thursday said it will to cut production 10 percent in British Columbia in the fourth quarter. Montreal-based Resolute reduced shifts at some mills in Thunder Bay, Ontario, and Quebec to adjust log inventory, Laflamme said in the telephone interview. “That’s the way we’re managing right now, and if we need to do more, we’ll do more,” he said.

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U.S. construction spending flat in September; prior month revised up

Reuters
November 1, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

WASHINGTON – U.S. construction spending was unchanged at a record high in September as continued gains in private construction projects was offset by the biggest drop in public outlays in a year. The Commerce Department said on Thursday that the flat reading in construction spending followed an upwardly revised 0.8 percent jump in August. Construction spending in August was previously reported to have gained 0.1 percent. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast construction spending nudging up 0.1 percent in September. Construction spending increased 7.2 percent on a year-on-year basis. The upward revision to August data could have an impact on the government’s third-quarter gross domestic product estimate published last Friday.

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Sterling Recognized with Chicago Innovation Award

Benzinga
November 1, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

PHOENIX, Ill. — Recognizing the significant economic and environmental impact of the TerraLam® site access mat, Sterling was presented with a Chicago Innovation Award during the 17th annual Chicago Innovation Awards. TerraLam is eliminating the false perception among contractors and utility owners that they must choose between sustainability and profit, because with TerraLam you get both. TerraLam CLT mats use sustainable southern yellow pine to create a site access mat that is lighter, faster, and longer lasting. TerraLam mats are used primarily in the electric transmission and distribution, oil and gas pipeline, and civil construction fields. Site access mats are used to protect sensitive or undisturbed soil in rights-of-way from tires and tracks of heavy construction equipment. …TerraLam was born out of extensive R&D and testing. To keep the mats light yet strong, Sterling selected renewable southern yellow pine with an optimized adhesive system for their next generation CLT mat.

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Waco’s Domtar diaper plant to close next year

By Mike Copeland
The Waco Tribune-Herald
November 1, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

A local diaper-making plant that employs 145 people and is the ninth-largest taxpayer in Waco has announced it will shutter its plant on Texas Central Parkway as a cost-cutting move, probably by June of next year. …Company representatives met with Domtar employees Thursday morning to break the news about the closing, Domtar spokeswoman Tammy Waters said. The employees will receive severance packages and opportunities to work in other Domtar-owned facilities, Waters said. …“We’re closing due to what has become a challenging business environment that includes the rising cost of raw materials and a falling infant birth rate. We’ve had to adopt a margin-improvement plan.” …Domtar’s pulp and paper businesses “will enter 2019 in the best position in recent years,” but its personal care line is hurting.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

A treehouse made from sustainable wood hides a luxurious interior

By Nicole Jewell
inhabit
November 1, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

The sustainable builders at ArtisTree are known for creating some seriously beautiful and green structures. The company has just unveiled a charming treehouse located in a remote eco-retreat in Texas. Perched 25 feet in the air between two cypress trees, the Yoki Treehouse is an exceptional example of the company’s artistry and deep respect for nature. Located in central Texas, the Yoki Treehouse is Austin’s first treehouse resort at Cypress Valley. …Inside, the walls of the treehouse are clad in a warm birch wood, creating a cabin-like aesthetic. Again, an abundance of windows, including an all-glass front wall, allows guests to reconnect with nature. The interior design and furnishings were inspired by Japanese minimalism, while touches of Turkish decor add a sense of whimsy.

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Nanollose makes first garment from tree-free rayon

By Hannah Abdulla
just-style
November 1, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Australian biotechnology company Nanollose says it has successfully created its first test-garment made from Nullarbor fibre, a sustainable alternative to rayon and cotton. Nanollose says the move marks a “drastic departure from clothing made from traditional rayon fibre that comes from environmentally challenging wood pulp processing” and that is now able to offer a “commercially viable, eco-friendly manufacturing solution for the clothing industry”. …Nanollose’s alternative to to wood uses microbe-based fermentation to convert biomass waste products from the beer, wine and liquid food industries into microbial cellulose.

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EU cohesion fund boosts Swedens’ forestry sector – sustainably

By Aurora Velez
euronews
November 1, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Wood is seen as a source of sustainable life. In Sweden, “Paper Province” is preparing for the transition from a fossil fuel-dependent economy to another one, one that is plastic-free and eco-friendly. How? By using the raw materials of the Swedish forests to make innovative everyday objects with a very low carbon footprint. This is the ultimate goal of this industrial cluster, supported by the EU Cohesion Fund. …Paper Province is made up of 104 companies, researchers and academics. Its overall budget is 9.1 million euros. More than a third is financed by the EU Cohesion Fund. The sectors targeted are packaging, energy, or sport. Most of the materials that are manufactured and tested have not yet reached the general public. …”In Sweden we are cutting less than the annual growth, so we are actually building more capital in the forest,” says the Project Manager of “The Wood Region”, Thomas Bajer.

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2018 National Architecture Awards: National Award for Educational Architecture

Architecture AU
November 1, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Macquarie University Incubator by Architectus receives Educational Architecture: National Award. Australian Institute of Architects. The Macquarie University Incubator is conceived as a pair of pavilions, each with flexible layouts that lend themselves to the future adaptations and functions of startups. [The result is] a beautifully crafted timber building with a series of spaces that are warm and filled with light. This is a careful exercise in the design and engineering of timber structures, with diaphragms of cross-laminated timber, large-span laminated veneer lumber beams and glulam V columns as well as spotted gum hardwood and cork for the interior floor surfaces, and plywood for the external walls. …This project represents a new and sustainable engineered timber prototype for portable educational buildings.

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Forestry

2018 Contractor Survey: Regional View – BC Coast

By Maria Church
Wood Business – Canadian Forest Industries
November 1, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West
Contractors on the B.C. Coast seem to have picked themselves up off the ground since CFI’s first Contractor Survey two years ago. In general, the situation has improved, but there is still work to be done, particularly around succession planning, if the industry is going to thrive.  Two years ago contractors on the B.C. Coast stood out as the area of Canada where mill relations had soured, rates were stagnant and profitability was on the decline. Results from Canadian Forest Industries’ 2016 Contractor Survey showed a clear challenge ahead for the B.C. Coastal industry. …In spite of the progress made over the past two years to aid communication between the licensees and contractors, and the relative improvements to profitability compared to the rest of Canada, Coastal contractors are still among the most concerned about improved co-operation with government and forest companies. 

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Keepers of the spotted owl

By Sarah Cox
The Narwhal
November 1, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

At the world’s first breeding centre in Langley, B.C., spotted owls are hatched in incubators, given around the clock medical care and hand fed euthanized rodents in a last-ditch effort to save the species from Canadian extinction. All the while scientists warn that the province has yet to recognize the endangered raptor as a symbol of our escalating failure to protect old-growth forests. …In Canada, a legally mandated federal recovery strategy released in 2006 has been an abysmal failure. Spotted owls are now functionally extinct in Canada’s wild, where an estimated 1,000 of the raptors once lived in southwestern B.C.’s old-growth forests… For 12 years, the B.C. government has steadfastly avoided identification of the owl’s critical habitat, required by the recovery strategy. This year, a full-time B.C. government spotted owl biologist detected only three spotted owl individuals in the Canadian wild, all in the Fraser Canyon. He found no breeding pairs.

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Where there’s smoke, there’s ire: Green MLA criticizes slash burning after hazy Halloween

By Liam Britten
CBC News
November 1, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A Green Party MLA says smoky skies over southern Vancouver Island Wednesday night highlight outdated forestry practices in B.C. The Halloween night haze was caused by a forestry company TimberWest’s controlled burns in the Shirley and Sooke areas, Langford Fire Rescue confirmed. TimberWest says it is investigating complaints. “We take precautions to ensure that appropriate conditions are in place for prescribed burning in accordance to venting regulations,” TimberWest spokeswoman Monica Bailey said. …Green MLA Adam Olsen… told All Points West host Robyn Burns that at the very least, forestry companies should have to pay the carbon tax on what they burn. …B.C. Forests Minister Doug Donaldson said the government would look at applying carbon tax on slash burning “in the next couple of years.”

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Tofino, Ucluelet, Swiftsure facing likely fishing closures in 2019

By Andrew Bailey
The Alberni Valley News
November 1, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

An announcement made by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada suggests the government is moving towards declaring Swiftsure and La Perouse Banks critical habitats for resident killer whales, which will likely lead to fishery closures around Tofino and Ucluelet. …Tofino mayor Josie Osborne said Wednesday’s announcement indicates additional measures, including closures, are looming. …She added any fishery closure would have economic impacts on the West Coast, but future generations must be considered as well. …Central Westcoast Forest Society’s executive director Jessica Hutchinson hopes to see some of that funding directed towards local salmon habitat restoration efforts. …“The Tranquil Watershed was hit very hard by logging starting around the 1960’s… and we know from scientific research that logging has terrible and long-term effects on salmonid populations,” she said.

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TimberWest investigating after complaints of smoke smell in Greater Victoria

Chek TV News
November 1, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

TimberWest has confirmed it is investigating after the company received complaints about the strong smell of smoke over Greater Victoria on Halloween night following some controlled burns in the Shirley and Sooke areas. …The B.C. Air Quality Health Index map showed the air quality was rated 7 for a short amount of time, which is a high health risk. Victoria’s health risk was moderate. The ratings dropped back down to a low health risk around 3 p.m. The smoke was due to open burning of slash piles between Sooke and Shirley, the B.C. Forest Service said. The prescribed burns were being done by TimberWest.

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Where there’s fire, there’s Bruce Blackwell

Branchlines UBC Faculty of Forestry
November 1, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Growing up in Vancouver, Bruce Blackwell …started off at UBC studying biology. That changed when he had an opportunity to fight forest fires in the summer. “I got exposed to fires and forestry and said to myself, ‘this is what I need to do’”. He moved over to Forestry and completed a BSF in 1984.  …Eventually Bruce got a job at UBC preparing wood and soil samples for research. That small project grew to become the basis of Bruce’s Master’s research. His thesis on the effects of prescribed fire on soils, vegetation and fuels was the foundation of his professional career. …Bruce has built a thriving consulting business with a focus on integrated forestry and environmental consulting services. Today the North Vancouver-based company … is the premier resource for fire and fuel management expertise in British Columbia. [BA Blackwell and Associates is a sponsor of the Tree Frog News]

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Free-for-all in the forest

By Stephen Joudrey, South Shore Wildlife Association
The Chronicle Herald
November 2, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

As president of a wildlife association… in southwest Nova Scotia, I’d like to express our grave concern over the destructive waste of current logging practices that are supported by our government. Wood-harvesting has gone from a very controlled, sustainable industry that respected our ecosystems to massive assaults on our landscape — leaving barren wastelands subject to adverse erosion, silt runoffs and contamination of adjacent watercourses, causing displacement of thousands of birds, reptiles and other wildlife, and resulting in the destruction and loss of fragile flora, old-growth forests and pristine scenic beauty. …We simply ask for a return to common-sense logging practices, and for compassion toward our natural resources.

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Watchdog reviewing plan to relocate key USDA office

By Juliet Linderman
The Associated Press
November 1, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

WASHINGTON — The USDA’s internal watchdog will examine the agency’s plan to restructure its top independent research office and move it out of the District of Columbia, actions some lawmakers and staff fear could leave research on contentious issues like climate change and the social safety net vulnerable to political pressures. The agency’s inspector general will review the proposed changes to the roughly 300-person Economic Research Service, said two Democratic House members. …The Economic Research Service is responsible for providing research and analysis to USDA and other federal agencies, as well as the White House and Congress, on topics such as food security and safety, agricultural economy and natural resources.

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Fire officials present new wildfire data to commissioners

By Tess Novotny
Herald and News
November 1, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Northwest fire officials fought a total of 195 fires this wildfire season, 90 of which were caused by humans and 105 by lightening, according to official data from the Northwest Coordination Center. Officials from the Oregon Department of Forestry Klamath Lake District, Crater Lake fire management, Lakeview Bureau of Land Management and the Chiloquin Ranger District met with Klamath County Commissioners Tuesday to share highlights from the NWCC report detailing wildfire fighting efforts around Oregon. Officials said there were about 100 fewer wildfires this year than average, and about 846,411 acres were burned in Oregon. “Overall, the numbers are good,” said Todd Forbes, District Manager for Lakeview BLM. “We did a great job from a partnership perspective, and locally, we were challenged for resources.”

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Old-growth logging proposed in Tongass National Forest plan

The Associated Press
November 1, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

JUNEAU, Alaska — The U.S. Forest Service has proposed harvesting as much as 225 million board feet of old growth timber on a patchwork of Tongass National Forest lands in southeast Alaska. KTOO Public Media in Juneau reports the Forest Service will publish its draft decision Friday on the Prince of Wales Landscape Level Analysis Project, opening up a 45-day period for people to raise objections. The Forest Service says the project aims to improve forest ecosystem health as well as boost the local economy. Forest Service project manager Delilah Brigham says the timber harvest under the plan will be gradual, so “it’s not going to be harvested all right now within one year.” Critics say the plan is a reversal of the agency’s 2016 decision to phase out old-growth logging. [END]

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After the Floods: People Across America are Standing for Forests

By Danna Smith, Dogwood Alliance and Reverend Leo Woodberry, pastor of Kingdom Living Temple
Global Newswire
November 1, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Leo Woodberry and Danna Smith

Florence, SC — The Following is a statement from the Dogwood Alliance: We are writing from ground zero of Hurricane Florence, where floodwaters wreaked havoc on our community. This was followed almost immediately by Hurricane Michael. …For the fourth year in a row in the South, massive flooding that has been scientifically linked to climate change has caused tremendous suffering with estimated economic costs totalling tens of billions of dollars. Meanwhile, there is an underlying issue too few are talking about — the connection between forest destruction in the U.S., climate change and the devastating impacts on vulnerable communities. The U.S. is the world’s largest producer and consumer of wood products. Logging rates in the Southeast alone — estimated at four times that of South American rainforests — are among the highest on Earth. …It’s time to move beyond the fundamental misconception that just because trees are green anything we make from forests must be good for the planet. 

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Trump admin promises to ‘encourage’ tree burning for energy

By Timothy Cama
The Hill
November 1, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

Three federal agencies said Thursday that they’re working to embrace burning trees and other biomass to create energy in a “carbon-neutral” way. The heads of the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Agriculture and Department of Energy sent a letter to Congress outlining how they are carrying out a mandate from a law passed earlier this year to ensure that policies “reflect the carbon-neutrality of forest bioenergy and recognize biomass as a renewable energy source.” …The forestry industry has been pushing for years for federal policy to consider biomass burning a renewable energy source, which could give it some of the benefits that wind, solar and similar energy forms enjoy. Companies often use sawdust and other waste to fuel operations, or turn the waste into pellets and sell them to other companies. The American Forest and Paper Association cheered the Trump administration’s Thursday letter.

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Trump Embraces Tree-Fired Power That Scientists Call Worse Than Coal

By Jennifer Dlouhy
Bloomberg
November 1, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

The Trump administration endorsed burning trees and other biomass to produce energy on Thursday, vowing to promote a practice some scientists have declared more environmentally devastating than coal-fired power. The Environmental Protection Agency joined the departments of Energy and Agriculture in a letter to congressional leaders committing to “encourage the use of biomass as an energy solution.” The EPA also reasserted its view that power plants burning trees and other woody materials to generate electricity should be viewed as carbon neutral, because when the plants eventually regrow they remove carbon dioxide from the air. The agencies also are committing to collaborate on policies promoting biomass, which could include Energy Department research and encouraging utilities to substitute wood for coal in power plants.

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Health & Safety

Four seriously injured in Prince George area bus crash, 12 others stable

The Canadian Press in the Vancouver Sun
November 1, 2018
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

A bus carrying workers to a sawmill crashed Thursday afternoon north of Prince George, sending 16 people to hospital, three of them in critical condition. B.C. Emergency Health Services says one person was in serious condition and 12 others were stable. Sixteen others were uninjured and taken back to Prince George by bus, said Libby Brown of EHS. …Forest products company Canfor said the bus was chartered by them and was transporting employees from Prince George to its Polar Sawmill when it was involved in an accident. “The accident is currently under investigation by the local authorities,” Michelle Ward, director of corporate communications, said in a statement. “Our focus is on supporting our injured employees and their families.”

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Maintenance work leads to crush injuries

By WorkSafe NZ
Scoop Independent News
November 2, 2018
Category: Health & Safety
Region: International

WorkSafe New Zealand says businesses must learn from previous health and safety failings to ensure workers are protected. Carter Holt Harvey Limited appeared in Whangarei District Court yesterday following an October 2016 incident at their Ruakaka plant. A worker suffered life changing injuries after he was crushed by part of a machine he was working on. The worker was undertaking maintenance work on the machinery that makes laminated veneer wood products. Believing the machine was secured against inadvertent movement, the worker leaned into the machine to make adjustments. Part of the machine moved and collided with his chest and shoulders, resulting in significant crush injuries.

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