Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: January 11, 2019

Today’s Takeaway

As prices migrate lower, the softwood tariff takes its toll on Canadian production

The Tree Frog Forestry News
January 11, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

As prices migrate lower, the US softwood lumber tariff is causing curtailments in Canadian lumber production. Meanwhile, Trudeau continues to raise the issue with Trump without “weighing in on” everything he says. In other Business news: lower paper sales has Georgia Pacific laying off 700 in Louisiana; BC Forest Minister’s dilemma given his relationship with First Nations; Thunder Bay unveils its latest strategic plan; and more on the effort to redevelop Maine’s Millinocket paper mill. 

In Forestry news: Adam’s Lake Indian Band passes forestry audit; biotech’s potential to address forest pests; how the US gov’t shutdown is impacting wildfire preparations; and the illegal logging trend in Mexico’s cartel territory.

Finally, a US builder’s strategy to address wood frame’s mid-rise fire construction vulnerability.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Trump’s Lumber Tariff Is Forcing Canada Producers to Idle Mills

By Bloomberg
Investing.com
January 11, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

A decades-long spat with the U.S. over lumber is starting to burn Canadian producers. While the first half of 2018 was marked by record prices, the picture’s now less rosy. …The result: Interfor Corp slashed output by 20 percent at its sawmills in BC… Canfor Corp curtailed output by about 10 percent and West Fraser said it will permanently shut 300 million board feet of capacity. Analysts say more cuts could be ahead. “The bite is significant,” said Susan Yurkovich, chief executive officer of the B.C. Council of Forest Industries. “When you’re in a very low price environment and you’re paying duties you get to a point where you can’t continue to operate.” …“It’s sort of a market that is unsustainably low,” Mason said by telephone. “At some point you’re going to want to stop losing money and we’ll see more downtime unless prices migrate higher.”

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Stikine MLA adopted by First Nation faces a dilemma

By Les Leyne
Victoria Times Colonist
January 10, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Doug Donaldson strikes me as an honourable man. That just makes the situation he’s in that much more difficult. …he has established himself as someone who is deeply immersed in First Nations culture and traditions. On occasion, he delivers messages in the house fluently in Indigenous languages. …A few years ago, he told the legislature: “I am the representative for Stikine, but I’m also an adopted member of Wilp Dawamukw [a sub-group of the Gitxsan nation].” …So a man with deep respect for First Nations is now nominally responsible for overriding long-standing concerns of some hereditary chiefs and allowing a pipeline through their claimed land. The project has the approval of all the First Nations’ elected leaders. It’s got signed benefit agreements with bands all along the route. But actual work was hung up until this week on the objections of some unelected individuals whose claims to authority aren’t well understood.

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Trudeau Answered Some Trump Questions At His Kamloops, B.C. Town Hall Because Of Course

By Zi-Ann Lum
Huffington Post
January 10, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

…a young man asked Trudeau for his thoughts on the U.S. president’s August claim Canada is partly to blame for the scale of the California wildfires because of the Canadian lumber industry. Trudeau said softwood lumber is an issue he continues to raise with Trump, and added that Canadians expect him to have a constructive relationship with the American president. He explained he generally tries “not to weigh in on various things” the president says. “As to any links between fallen logs and brush fires, I will defer to experts and scientists on that.” President Trump insinuated that if the U.S. had imported less lumber from Canada, more fallen trees would have been processed and fewer homes and forests would have been destroyed by the blazes. “Canada is charging us a lot of money to bring their timber down into our country,” the president said at the time.

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CEO optimistic as Community Economic Development Commission unveils latest strategic plan

By Leith Dunick
The Thunder Bay News Watch
January 10, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Doug Murray

THUNDER BAY – The CEO of the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission says the city’s economic performance has been pretty good over the past 15 years. Doug Murray, who unveiled the CEDC’s new three-year strategic plan, said Thunder Bay must focus on repairing its reputation, making the community more welcoming for everyone and find ways to stimulate population growth to fill an expected increased need in skilled trade jobs surrounding the mining, forestry and manufacturing industries. Over the past 15 years, starting in 2003, the city lost 5,931 jobs, but 8,035 new jobs were created over the same period of time, a net gain of 2,102, representing a four per cent hike. …Murray said the forest industry won’t return to 2003 levels, but with value-added products making it viable again, it could have a major impact on the local economy once again.

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AF&PA lists 2019 top advocacy priorities

By Megan Smalley
Recycling Today
January 10, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) announced some items that top its 2019 advocacy priority list. This year, the association plans to promote a more resilient paper recycling system, transportation infrastructure, international trade, tax policy and regulatory reforms and process improvements.  “Clear public policies that advance our industry’s ability to apply sustainable manufacturing practices to innovate, invest, compete and plan for the future top our 2019 advocacy priorities list,” says AF&PA President and CEO Donna Harman. “A market-based paper recycling system, improved transportation infrastructure, free and fair trade, a competitive tax system, and regulatory reforms and process improvements will go a long way toward helping our companies make the products that improve peoples’ everyday lives.” According to an AF&PA news release, the association plans to pursue these priorities as it supports the pulp, paper, packaging, tissue and wood products industry’s ability to grow and create manufacturing jobs.

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Georgia-Pacific will lay off nearly 700 people at mill

The Associated Press in the Missoulian
January 10, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

BATON ROUGE, La. — Georgia-Pacific says consumers aren’t buying as much copy paper anymore, forcing it to lay off nearly 700 people at a Louisiana mill. Company spokesman Kelly Ferguson says meeting the demand for office paper isn’t a viable business long term as society continues to shift toward electronic communications. The Advocate reports that around 300 people will continue working at the Port Hudson mill, producing toilet tissue and paper towels. The company says it will permanently shut down its office paper production assets, wood yard, pulp mill and most of its energy-generating complex by mid-March. The newspaper says Georgia-Pacific will work with union leaders and salaried staff on how to best shut down the divisions and find work for employees at other company-owned facilities. [END]

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Millinocket group ‘turning over every rock’ to eliminate $1.4M tax debt that scuttled factory

By Charles Eichacker
Bangor Daily News
January 10, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

A volunteer economic development group that’s trying to revive Millinocket’s former paper mill site is continuing to challenge a federal tax lien that has hampered its efforts. The lien most recently dissuaded a North Carolina forest products company from launching a $30 million factory on the site. The group, Our Katahdin, filed a third appeal of the $1.4 million tax lien with the Internal Revenue Service last Friday… To help redevelop the mill site, Our Katahdin has secured multiple types of funding totalling more than $8 million …That’s already spiked one large investment at the site. LignaTerra Global LLC of Charlotte, North Carolina, was considering opening a $30 million factory at the Millinocket mill site that would manufacture a composite wood product for use in construction and cross-laminated timber, and employ more than 100 people. But late last year, the group decided against launching the project in Millinocket because of the lien.

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Timeline: The often-dashed hopes for redevelopment of the Millinocket paper mill

By Matthew Stone
Bangor Daily News
January 10, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

The town of Millinocket rose around the Great Northern Paper Co. mill. And since the mill’s 2008 closing, there have been various hopes of redevelopment. The latest hope, however, was dashed late last year when a cross-laminated timber manufacturer said it would abandon plans to build a $30 million manufacturing facility at the mill site due to a $1.4 million IRS lien on the property. What follows is a history of the Millinocket mill site since the mill’s 2008 shutdown. 2008 … Brookfield executives reveal that Millinocket’s mill has lost $57 million since 2004. … 2012 Cate Street’s project to produce what the company calls torrefied wood pellets gets its first state permit. … 2018 An IRS lien against the mill property stemming from $1.4 million owed to the IRS by two Cate Street-created entities helps derail plans by Ligna Terra, a cross-laminated timber manufacturer, to build a $30 million factory at the Millinocket mill site.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Michael Feigin: Multifamily Builder Launches Fire-Elimination Strategy for Wood Frames

By Jim Parsons
Engineering News-Record
January 10, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

After fire destroyed AvalonBay’s four-story, 235-unit apartment project in Maplewood, N.J., in 2017, Michael Feigin decided that conventional industry standards and approaches designed to minimize the risks of these relatively rare, yet costly construction-phase fires were not enough. Adopting a goal of “fire elimination,” Feigin, AvalonBay’s EVP and chief construction officer, searched for a combination of practical tools and practices that would provide a greater degree of safety, and in turn reduce the risk of human error. …The result is a multifaceted program that combines traditional fire-suppression measures with new technologies. Along with enhancing site-perimeter security and relocating welding, brazing and other hot-work activities off site, AvalonBay now deploys onsite sensor networks to monitor sudden temperature changes. The company also is collaborating with the developer of a specially formulated, environmentally sound fire inhibitor that can be applied easily to non-fire-retardant wood, which typically makes up about 90% of framing on a multifamily structure.

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Green Building Initiative Announces 2019 Board of Directors

By Vicki Worden, Green Building Initiative
Global Newswire
January 10, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

Portland, Ore. – The Green Building Initiative (GBI) is pleased to announce the election of its 2019 Board of Directors.  Outgoing GBI Chair Rich Mitchell … has passed the gavel after a two-year term to Tim Atkinson, vice president of sales for Stimson Lumber Company of Portland, Ore., who also serves as president of the Pacific Northwest Association of Rail Shippers.  Atkinson takes the reins following the largest two-year growth period in GBI’s history, during which the organization supported more than 465 building projects that earned third-party assessment and certification through its Green Globes® and federal Guiding Principle Compliance® (GPC) programs. …“GBI has carved out a unique niche in the market,” stated Atkinson. “…we’ve seen GBI increase education and promotion of Green Globes and develop customized tools to support private and public sector owners, practitioners, and contractors with understanding that sustainability can be incorporated into every building type…”

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All construction fires should be made reportable

By Stephen Mackenzie
Construction News
January 11, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

UK — The number of construction-site fires is soaring – but data gaps and reporting issues stand in the way of tackling the problem. Home Office construction-fire statistics indicate a 43 per cent rise in deliberately caused fires between 2015-17; this is a significant cause for concern for the sector. …We simply do not have the data for all near-misses and small fires, which is preventing us from understanding their root causes. We are unable to fully grasp the factors that influence the rate of fire-incident growth, which is preventing the industry from putting in place mitigation measures. …The subject of construction-site fires has been much debated since an alarming number of significant construction fires took place between 1970-80, and then again following a spate of significant timber-frame construction fires during the 1990s. [to access the full story, a subscription may be required]

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Forestry

First Nations groups partner on new forestry alliance

By Charlene Tebbutt
Prince Albert NOW
January 10, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

SASKATCHEWAN — Several local-area First Nations have signed on to a new agreement to manage forest lands and build on opportunities in the industry. The new Saskatchewan First Nations Forestry Alliance includes 13 First Nations, including the Montreal Lake Cree Nation, Big River First Nation, Pelican Lake First Nation, Witchekan Lake First Nation and Meadow Lake Tribal Council and their related business organizations. The deal outlines how business-related opportunities will be handled on First Nations’ ancestral lands, which cover much of Saskatchewan’s forested area. Together, the groups direct forest management licenses and commercial arrangements on more than four million cubic metres of the annual allowable cut in the province. …Twenty-eight per cent of Saskatchewan’s timber supply is allocated to Indigenous businesses, the largest percentage of any province, the government noted.

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Where Do We Stand group is misunderstood

Letter by Len Thew
The Cowichan Valley Citizen
January 9, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

I think for the most part, people are largely misunderstanding the Where Do We Stand issue. As a person who has been actively involved from the beginning, I would like to make three very clear and simple points: 1. First and foremost, we feel the people deserve to have a say in how their community forest is being managed. Currently, there is zero public engagement, no consultation, we are not included or involved in the decision making or planning process whatsoever. …2. There are alternate methods of forestry management and harvesting, and options available that will meet the goals of the people while still allowing the department to thrive if given the opportunity. A financially sustainable forest reserve is not contingent on the current clear cutting and harvesting model. Increased taxes and job loss are baseless arguments made by closed minded people unwilling to adapt to or consider change.

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Adams Lake Passes Audit

BC Forest Practices Board
January 10, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

VICTORIA – An audit of Forest Licence A89984, held by Adams Lake, which is managed by the Adams Lake Indian Band, has found compliance with most requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act, according to a report released today. “The Board is pleased to see that Adams Lake is participating in the forestry sector and creating benefits for their community” said Kevin Kriese, Board Chair. The audit found one area for improvement, related to piling and burning logging debris too close to standing timber. On one site, a slash burn damaged some live trees. On two other sites, debris piles had not yet been burned, but were also too close to live timber. All other practices met the legal requirements.

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Biotech Could Modify Trees to Protect Against Pests

By John Fialka
Scientific American
January 10, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

U.S. forests are among the most vulnerable in the world to predators and disease, and those threats are being compounded by climate change, according to a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. The report suggests that two U.S. agencies—the Department of Agriculture and EPA—and the nonprofit U.S. Endowment for Forestry & Communities Inc. consider using more tools from emerging fields of biotechnology to promote healthy forests. They would include the use of genetically engineered trees to prevent the loss of forested lands from pests. Jason Delborne, an assistant professor at North Carolina State University… stressed that more public funds are needed to expand tree breeding programs and the use of biotechnological tools such as genetic editing to help grow trees that can survive threats. …But there are complicating problems, such as the time it takes to develop genetically modified trees.

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Judge proposes ordering Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to shut off power for wildfires

By Sudhin Thanawala
Associated Press in
January 10, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

SAN FRANCISCO — To prevent wildfires, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. should re-inspect its entire electric grid and cut off power during certain wind conditions regardless of the inconvenience to customers or loss of profit, a U.S. judge proposed Wednesday. Judge William Alsup said in a court order his goal was to prevent the utility from causing any wildfires in the 2019 fire season. “This will likely mean having to interrupt service during high-wind events (and possibly at other times) but that inconvenience…will pale by comparison to the death and destruction that otherwise might result from PG&E-inflicted wildfires,” Alsup said. He gave PG&E until Jan. 23 to respond to his proposal. PG&E said it was reviewing Alsup’s order. …The judge is also considering ordering the utility during the 2019 wildfire season to supply electricity only to those parts of its electrical grid it has determined to be safe under wind conditions at the time.

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Flathead forest plan goes live during shutdown

By Rob Chaney
The Missoulian
January 10, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A sweeping update to national forest management throughout northwestern Montana was approved at the end of 2018, but the public can’t see its final updates due to the federal government shutdown. Flathead National Forest Supervisor Chip Weber published the final record of decision of the Forest Land Management Plan and a four-forest amendment governing grizzly bear recovery in the Federal Register on Dec. 27. While the plans and amendments are available on the Forest Service website, the record of decision was not released. …The 180-page plan (not including appendices) generally guides how specific future decisions will be made in the Flathead National Forest.

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Shutdown hurts Western wildfire prep

By Stuart Leavenworth
The Bend Bulletin
January 10, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Training has been halted for thousands of firefighters. The U.S. Forest Service can’t let contracts for needed equipment. In forests across the West, no federal employees are reducing dry fire fuels that feed catastrophic blazes. These are some of the effects of the federal shutdown on federal firefighters, and experts say the situation could quickly worsen. If the shutdown drags out for several more weeks, federal fire crews won’t be ready for the months ahead, following a 2018 fire season that killed scores of people and destroyed thousands of homes in California and other states. “This is the second year in a row we’ve had a shutdown right in the middle of the (firefighter) training season,” said Jim Whittington, a former U.S. Bureau of Land Management employee.

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Southern California’s ecosystems evolved to survive fire. But not like this

By Bettina Boxall
Los Angeles Times
January 11, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

…Southern California’s native shrublands are famously tough. Conservationist John Muir celebrated them as Mother Nature at her “most ruggedly, thornily savage. They evolved along with long, hot summers, at least six rainless months a year and intense wildfires. But not this much fire, this often. …Burn maps show the astonishing extent of the wildfires that have seared the southern portion of the Los Padres forest and adjacent lands. …The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection plans to clear 14,000 acres of shrublands a year as part of a statewide fuels treatment program. “Every Cal Fire person I know … wants to cut it down wherever they possibly can,” D’Antonio said. “[But] every time they cut a new fuel break, they put another strip of grasses on the landscape.”

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California Asked for Money to Fight Wildfires. President Trump Responded by Threatening to Cut Off Funding

By Gina Martinez
Time Magazine
January 10, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Amid a partial government shutdown that is headed into its third week with no end in sight, President Trump threatened to cut off federal funding for California – currently recovering from its deadliest wildfire in history. …Trump’s tweets appear to have been triggered by California’s newly sworn in Democratic governor Gavin Newsom, who yesterday outlined a $305 million budget plan to prepare California for wildfires. Newsom said yesterday he had sent a letter to the President asking the federal government to work with the state to tackle wildfires. …Glen MacDonald, Geography professor at UCLA, said there is a debate among experts in California on whether forest thinning is a viable solution. …“What I don’t understand is the President belittles the state in terms of our forest management, and yet then threatens to hold back the money to do that management on the federal land.”

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Wildfire suppression hot topic at public lands meeting

By Kerri Sandaine
The Lewiston Tribune
January 10, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Washington state’s commissioner of public lands paid her first visit to Asotin County on Wednesday night to discuss wildfire suppression, forest management and rural economic development at a gathering in the Clarkston Heights. Hilary Franz, who was elected in 2016, manages about 6 million acres of public lands in the state and leads its largest firefighting force. “I don’t hit, I don’t bite, but I do have a black belt,” Franz said to a group of foresters, elected officials, fire chiefs and ranchers. …Franz’s focus has been on forest health, fire suppression and wildfire prevention. She will be seeking $55 million in the coming legislative session to address resource gaps in her department.

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Illegal Logging in Chihuahua is Now Mexico Cartel Territory

Deborah Bonello
InSight Crime
January 10, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Among the most vibrant criminal markets in Mexico is illegal wood, and in the northern state of Chihuahua, there is increasing alarm that drug trafficking organizations are fighting for control of the trade. …The scene was typical of the violence that has long played out during Mexico’s drug war, now more than a decade old. But the message taped to one of the bodies referred not to drug trafficking, but the local illegal wood market. Indeed, the groups involved in black-market logging and drugs now appear to be one and the same. …Local wisdom dictates that drug trafficking groups embraced illegal logging in part as a collateral benefit of their territorial control, and as a way to diversify their criminal portfolio, which had suffered after a drop in market prices for poppy paste and marijuana.

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Health & Safety

Fatigue responsible for 2017 occurrence in which a BC tug boat made bottom contact

By Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Cision Newswire
January 10, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER – Today, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada released its investigation report into a July 2017 occurrence during which the tug Ocean Monarch made bottom contact while transiting the Princess Royal Channel south of Kitimat, British Columbia. The report underlines the need to effectively manage the risk of fatigue in the marine industry. On 9 July 2017… the tug Ocean Monarch, with three crew members on board, made bottom contact while towing the loaded cement barge Evco No. 15. No pollution or injuries were reported, but the tug’s hull, starboard propeller and nozzle were damaged. …The investigation determined that the mate, alone on watchkeeping duties, fell asleep while the tug and barge transited on autopilot through the channel’s confined waters. …The investigation also found that the tug’s operator had no strategies in place to mitigate crew fatigue, despite a previous occurrence in 2011 where fatigue played a role.

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