Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: June 7, 2019

Today’s Takeaway

More sawmill curtailments in BC as ENGOs launch old-growth protests

The Tree Frog Forestry News
June 7, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

Western Forest Products is the latest to announce temporary production curtailments at three BC mills. In related news: the human and region-wide impacts of Canfor’s Vavenby closure; another take on BC’s timber-rights sale issue; and the politics behind the cancellation of BC’s recent trade mission to China.

In Forestry news: calling for an end to old-growth logging in BC—the Sierra Club protested at the offices of 17 BC politicians, securing media coverage that includes Victoria, Prince George, Nanaimo, Surrey and Campbell River. In response, the TLA’s David Elstone penned an op-ed saying that BC has the most sustainably managed forests in the world. Elsewhere: Ontario’s new Homes Act has species-at-risk implications; and more from FPAC on FSC’s new certification standard.

Finally,  the US Forest Service applauds the first mass timber sports arena in the country.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Beijing trip cancellation was political, not about justice in Huawei arrest

By Jeremy Hainsworth
Glacier Media in Vancouver Courier
June 6, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

B.C.’s chief security officer and top premier’s office staff were part of conversations held before government officials bowed out of a December forestry delegation’s visit to China after a Chinese telecommunications company’s official’s Vancouver Dec. 1 arrest. The trip, fronted by B.C. Minister of Forests Doug Donaldson, was cancelled after the arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, She was detained while changing flights after an extradition request from the United States. …The so-called five eyes countries of Canada, the U.S., the UK, New Zealand and Australia have expressed concerns about Huawei’s involvement in 5G, fearing data could be handed to Beijing by the Shenzhen-based firm. The information is contained in documents newly released to Glacier Media under access to information legislation. 

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Western Forest Products to curtail lumber production at three sawmills

The Canadian Press in the Times Colonist
June 6, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER — Western Forest Products Inc. is the latest lumber producer to announce temporary production curtailments to deal with challenging market conditions. The Vancouver-based company says it will reduce output at three of its sawmills to align volumes with customer demand. The Duke Point facility will be affected for two weeks and its Saltair sawmill for one week in June. Operating levels at its Chemainus sawmill will be reduced to 80 hours per week from 120 hours per week. The curtailment is expected to reduce production by about 15 million board feet. Western has an annual lumber capacity in excess of 1.1 billion board feet at facilities in British Columbia and Washington State. …”The challenge of weak markets is compounded by the disproportionate impacts of softwood lumber duties on high-value products, including Western Red Cedar,” said Western president and CEO Don Demens.

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The domino effect of a mill’s death

By Jessica Wallace
Kamloops This Week
June 6, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Doug McCuaig

Sixty-four-year-old Don McCuaig was planning retirement next year until plans were cut short this week with news Vavenby’s Canfor mill will close in July. …McCuaig is one of about 175 workers to directly lose their jobs. In a word, he feels “lost.” …“I’ve been here 44 years. …McCuaig is one of an estimated 35 to 45 people let go within reach of retirement and anticipates a payout. …McCuaig worries for young families and expects they will leave the area to find work. …That concern is echoed by Area A TNRD director Carol Schaffer. Calling the news “devastating”…Schaffer was surprised to hear of permanent closure, rather than a temporary shutdown. The news is indicative of a greater trend, she said. …The Vavenby mill was the largest employer in the region, with North Thompson forestry having an economic spinoff of between $40 million and $60 million annually.

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Canfor mill shutdown in the Interior to test B.C. government’s power to regulate timber-rights sales

By Justine Hunter
The Globe and Mail
June 6, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

A new law that gives the B.C. government the ability to veto a forestry company’s sale of logging rights following a mill closing is about to be tested by one of the province’s largest forestry companies. Canfor Corp. plans to shut down its mill in Vavenby, B.C., and sell the tenure tied to that facility … to …Interfor Corp. The union representing the Vavenby mill workers argues the province should use its new legislation to ensure that doesn’t happen. …The Vavenby mill will close anyway, but Interfor can ease the pain by ensuring a supply of fibre to a more viable, albeit non-union, mill in Adams Lake.  …Susan Yurkovich, president and CEO of the Council of Forest Industries, said industry will be watching how Mr. Donaldson handles the proposed sale of Canfor’s Vavenby timber rights to Interfor, to determine if Bill 22 is going to add to industry’s woes. “This transition needs to happen. A natural disaster occurred and we need to be able to respond, so we need to allow transactions like this to occur,“ she said. [A Globe and Mail subscription is required to access this story]

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Mill closure in Vavenby has a region-wide impact

By Editorial Board
Kamloops This Week
June 6, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Grim news that has roamed B.C. like an economic pine beetle landed in the North Thompson Valley this week, leaving a region shaken and about families wondering about life after the mill. …The reasons for the decision to shut the [Vavenby] mill and throw hundreds of lives into disarray are familiar to communities that rely on the forestry industry to prop up the economy. …Like the oil patch, the forestry sector can operate on a boom-bust cycle, and this latest news in Vavenby will sound familiar to many across BC…. Clearwater Mayor Merlin Blackwell is trying to figure out the future of his community… and region and knows the closure only further highlights the need for communities everywhere to diversify their economies. It is, of course, easier said than done. …In the meantime, those affected… will need support.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Steel vs. Wood: ‘Fire-Resistant’ Homes the Wave of the Future in California?

By Robert Handa
NBC Bay Area
June 6, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

With fire season approaching, a Bay Area company is giving the public a glimpse of what could make things safer for homeowners in the future. Yuhu Builders in Morgan Hill unveiled the prototype framework of a fire-resistant home; basically, metal where wood is usually seen. Builders say this could be the wave of the future. Yuhu Builders invited city officials, realtors and fire agencies to see what it called “fire-resistant innovations.” “California historically has faced so much fire hazards, and this is one of the solutions,” Yuhu founder and CEO Eugene Yu said. …”We absolutely have to change our building environment to make California safer, more resilient,” said Dwight Good, Cal Fire battalion chief. “The wildfires are not getting smaller.” …While the biggest appeal is safety, the biggest problem will be cost: steel costs about 50 percent more to use than wood.

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New University of Idaho arena fulfills university’s mission on many levels

By Peter Harriman
The Spokesman-Review
June 6, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

Moscow Mountain, looming on the horizon and shrouded with rain, was a symbol at a soggy University of Idaho groundbreaking ceremony Thursday. …Dennis Becker, College of Natural Resources dean …pointed out the mass timber arena will be built with wood harvested from the UI Experimental Forest on Moscow Mountain. Idaho companies will manufacture and haul the arena timbers to campus, and when the building is completed in two years, it will be a living laboratory “training the next generation of students how to engineer wood,” Becker said. The presence of U.S. Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen was testament to how important the project is viewed nationally. …Christiansen told the crowd… that ICCU Arena will be the first mass timber sports arena in the country. “We are trying to spur more mass timber use in universities,” she said.

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Forest Service Chief applauds momentum of mass timber market while at groundbreaking for new University of Idaho arena

By the US Department of Agriculture
EIN News
June 6, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

Vicki Christiansen

USDA Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen joined with staff of the University of Idaho to break ground on a one-of-a-kind engineered wood arena. The 62,000-square-foot, 4,200-capacity facility will highlight Idaho’s wood products industry and will provide a unique home for the University of Idaho’s basketball programs. This unique and highly visible project is a clear example of how modern technology and traditional wood use can be combined to bring benefits to emerging new markets while supporting strong forest health. It is a win for the local community and a win for the Forest Service. “This ground breaking comes at an exciting moment for the mass timber market in the United States,” said Chief Christiansen. “A thriving mass timber market can help reduce excess vegetation in our overstocked forests, leading to safer, more resilient communities.

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Deck maker Trex investing $200M at two US sites

By Catherine Kavanaugh
Plastics News
June 6, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Winchester, Va.-based Trex Co. Inc. plans to invest $200 million in the next two years to increase capacity by 70 percent, with a new plant at its headquarters site and more production lines at its plant in Fernley, Nev. The world’s largest decking and railing producer expects to add capacity in Fernley at the beginning of the third quarter of 2019 and then again by the second quarter of 2020. The new plant should be operating in the first quarter of 2021. The investment will allow Trex, which is a major recycler of post-consumer film and bags, to increase output of its composite decking, which competes with wood. “Demand trends indicate the conversion from wood has accelerated at a faster pace than expected with our recent introduction of the Enhance decking products,” Trex CEO James Cline said in the release. “This has required that we accelerate our planned capacity expansion by one year.”

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A gorgeous events center in Pennsylvania is built almost entirely out of eco-friendly timber

By Nicole Jewell
inhabit
June 6, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Residents of Nappanee, Indiana have a beautiful timber events center thanks to the Pennsylvania-based builders at Mid-Atlantic Timberframes. The Sammlung Platz (The Gathering Place in German) is a massive, multi-use center that is made out of natural timbers that give the space a unique structural strength as well as an exceptionally warm atmosphere. The Mid-Atlantic Timberframes company has established itself as a leader in the design of timber structures. …the company crafts homes and commercial buildings using timber frames to create naturally strong structures that eliminate the need for load-bearing walls. The Sammlung Platz is a pegged mortise and tenon-style timber construction that pays homage to traditional barns. Designed to accommodate up to 1,000 people, the two-level, 26,000-square-foot open floor plan.

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Forestry

B.C. has the most sustainably managed forests in the world

By David Elstone, Truck Loggers Association
BC Local News
June 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

David Elstone

Sierra Club B.C. is staging demonstrations at 17 MLA offices today, repeating their call for an end to logging of old-growth forests. …David Elstone RPF, executive director of the Truck Loggers Association, responds. For decades, and even more so over the past year, there have been many catastrophic headlines trumpeting rhetoric from environmentalists who state BC’s old-growth forests are endangered and warning that if we’re not careful, we’ll soon run out. Nothing could be further from the truth: 55 per cent of remaining old-growth forests, 500,000 hectares, are protected on Vancouver Island alone and will never be harvested. Ever. There are also millions of hectares of old growth trees protected on the B.C. Coast. These crucial facts are often ignored in the articles and arguments intended to pressure the government to end old-growth logging. …Ending old-growth logging on Vancouver Island would shut down four sawmills, a pulp mill and lead to thousands of jobs lost.

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Residents rally in support of old growth forest

By Greg Fry
CKPG Today
June 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

PRINCE GEORGE — About two dozen people turned out to rally in favour of the protection of old growth forest today (June 6) in Prince George. They gathered in front of MLA Shirley Bond’s office, on the Provincial Day of Action for Old Growth Forests, passing on a petition with over 800 names on it in support of the measure. Director Michelle Connolly with Conservation North says it’s time to protect the forest from clear cuts and thanked Bond for her leadership on the issue. Bond noted she did a lot of work helping to protect the Ancient Forest east of Prince George and will bring the group’s concerns to Victoria.

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Protesters decry logging practices, rally outside MLAs’ offices

By Lindsay Kines
The Times Colonist
June 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Conservation groups stepped up the pressure on the B.C. government Thursday to protect pristine old-growth forests on Vancouver Island. At rallies outside MLA offices in Victoria and across the province, the groups and their supporters expressed frustration with the NDP for allowing old-growth logging to continue. …“They’re going to have to be pushed there by the public,” said Torrance Coste, a Wilderness Committee campaigner. …Coste predicted increasing unrest unless the government moves to reform logging practices soon. …The B.C. Green Party issued a similar call last month following a public outcry over plans — now on hold — to log 109 hectares of old-growth forest near Juan de Fuca Provincial Park. …Donaldson quickly rejected the idea, saying it would throw people out of work and devastate coastal communities. He took a similar stance in response to the protests at MLA offices, noting that the coastal forest sector employs 24,000 people.

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Premier’s office one of 17 rallies across B.C. calling for protection of old-growth forest

By Swikar Oli
Victoria News
June 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Dozens of constituents showed up outside the community office of Premier John Horgan Thursday afternoon as part of province-wide protest against the logging of old-growth on the Island. Steve Gray of the BC-Yukon KAIROS Rolling Justice Bus spoke on the need to transition old-growth logging jobs to second-growth and other sectors. “We say loggers need to transition away from logging old growth forests now. We say the government should lend them a hand,” he said. “Re-tool our mills to handle second growth. Lend them a hand.” Gray questioned the Horgan’s commitment to mitigate “climate degradation,”… Bruce Fogg, executive assistant to the premier, said he would relay the message to Horgan, who was aware of the issue. …In her speech, Ancient Forest Alliance campaigner Andrea Inness urged action and offered steps to protect B.C. forests.

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Concerned citizens confront Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA over old-growth logging

By Nicholas Pescod
Nanaimo News Bulletin
June 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Residents upset about continued old-growth logging gave their local MLA a piece of their mind. Approximately two dozen concerned citizens and individuals from various environmental organizations met with Doug Routley, Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA, on Thursday, where they demanded an end to old-growth logging and further action on the environment. The rally, which was one of 17 rallies to take place across the province, included speeches from the Vancouver Island Water Watch Coalition and the Sierra Club B.C. Routley fielded questions for more than an hour. …The longtime MLA pointed to the NDP government’s recently approved bill requiring timber companies to receive provincial approval prior to the sale of any tenure as an example of efforts being made to protect old-growth forests. “We are protecting old-growth forests, we’re moving towards it,” he said, adding “it takes a long time to pass a bill.”

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South Surrey residents call for action on old-growth forests

By Aaron Hinks
The Peace Arch News
June 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

BC Liberal MLA Stephanie Cadieux was one of 11 MLA’s across southern B.C. presented with a letter asking her to put pressure on BC NDP Premier John Horgan to protect old growth forests. The letter, signed by more than 16,000 B.C. residents, calls on forests minister Doug Donaldson and Horgan to establish an old-growth protection act, support First Nations, create long-term forestry jobs in a sustainable second-growth model, and immediately halt logging in old-growth forest hot-spots, a news release states. “Our provincial government made an election promise to sustainably manage BC’s spectacular old-growth forests and other ecosystems using solutions like in the Great Bear Rainforest. But after 18 months in office, they failed to take any meaningful steps to protect endangered ancient rainforests on Vancouver Island and across the province,” the release states.

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Protesters say clearcuts will destroy orca ‘rubbing beaches’ on North Island

By David Gordon Kock
The Sooke News Mirror
June 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Opponents of clearcut logging at Schmidt Creek, an old-growth rainforest on northern Vancouver Island, say that soil erosion and landslides will destroy “rubbing beaches” used by orcas at Robson Bight. It’s one of the ecological concerns raised by protesters in Campbell River on Thursday as activists across B.C. staged a day of action against logging old-growth forests. Orcas have visited the beaches of Robson Bight for perhaps thousands of years to rub their bodies against the smooth pebbles of its shores. …The provincial Green Party and groups including Sierra Club BC have called for a logging moratorium in the old-growth forests that remain intact and pristine on Vancouver Island.

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Union says unstaffed wildfire lookout towers leading to undetected fires

By Jennie Russell and Charles Rusnell
CBC News
June 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Alberta’s largest union says several recent wildfires were undetected for up to a day, increasing the threat to public safety and property, because arbitrary interim pay rules have resulted in unstaffed fire lookout towers, including in high fire-hazard areas. The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees said up to 10 lookout towers are not staffed at any given time because the province’s new employment code, enacted under the former NDP government, requires staff to take a mandatory day off. “It is very important that we detect fires, especially in a high-fire hazard, as soon as possible after ignition so that you can get the resources out there as fast as you can,” said AUPE vice-president Mike Dempsey

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MLA still working on bill to ban glysophate from B.C. forests

By Mark Nielsen
The Prince George Citizen
June 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Mike Morris

Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Mike Morris’ quest to ban the use of a controversial chemical on provincial forests has hit some bumps but his private member’s bill on the issue remains in play. A plan to have the bill introduced in the most-recent sitting of the legislature was put on hold to make some modifications, but it should be ready for the fall session, Morris said Wednesday. …”It needed to be broader than just glysophate, so I was trying to come up with some terms that would cover off any other kind of derivative,” Morris said. “But I also had a lot of input, a lot of calls… that were concerned that this would morph into a province-wide prohibition… for agriculture and others. “And my sole purpose is just to concentrate on the loss of biodiversity and habitat related to killing off the broadleaf and deciduous growth in there.

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Lake Cowichan campsites included in Mosaic photo contest

By Sarah Simpson
Cowichan Valley Citizen
June 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Mosaic Forest Management’s annual photo contest kicked off over the long weekend, and is now open for campers to submit their best photographs of some of Vancouver Island’s best Mosaic-run sites. …“Nothing says summer better than getting outside and safely enjoying the magnificent natural environment with friends and family,” said Domenico Iannidinardo, Mosaic Forest Management’s vice president of forest and sustainability and chief forester. “Our campsites provide a backdrop for the memories that will last a lifetime, and we want to celebrate and share those moments.” Entrants have a chance to win one of two 14-day camping passes valid at any Mosaic campsite.

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This First Nation has a plan to protect a pristine landscape in northern B.C.

By Chief Myles Manygreyhorses, Dease River First Nation, Deputy Chief Fred Lutz Sr., Daylu Dena Council and Chief Donny Van Somer, Kwadacha Nation
The Narwhal
June 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The United Nations warned the world just how urgent and catastrophic global biodiversity loss is for nature and human life. The outlook isn’t better here in B.C. where we’re bracing for summer droughts and more forest fires… But there is hope. Right now, the B.C. government has an extraordinary chance to work jointly with the Kaska Dena in northern B.C. to beat back biodiversity decay. In our language we say Dene Kʼéh Kusān, which means Always Will Be There. We have a vision for protecting a vital piece of our ancestral territory in B.C.’s far north to ensure it doesn’t experience the biodiversity loss we’re seeing across the province and around the world. …Land conservation and resource jobs can sometimes be at odds. But, that’s not a trade-off that needs to be made here because protecting this land will create new jobs. 

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One billion, not 50 million trees should be planted: Forests Ontario

By Jennifer Westendorp
My Kempville Now
June 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Rob Keen

A funding announcement yesterday offered reprieve for the trees. Forests Ontario is getting $15 million from the Federal government, to keep the 50 Million Tree program going. The provincial government cancelled the program in April. Forests Ontario CEO Rob Keen says the dollars don’t cover the entire budget, but it does keep the ball rolling. …Keen says 50 million trees barely scratches the surface. He says Southern Ontario is sitting at 26% forest cover, but should have 40% to maintain sustainable and healthy ecosystems. Keen noted at least one billion trees need to be planted to reach that ecology goal. He says Forests Ontario has to look beyond planting 50 million trees by 2025.

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Understanding third-party certification: Q&A with FPAC’s Etienne Belanger

By Ellen Cools
Wood Business – Canadian Forest Industries
June 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Etienne Belanger

How does the new standard differ from the previous one and what does it entail for forestry companies? …FSC Canada is maintaining a lot of the current orientations that they were already applying; they’re just providing thorough update of how they’re presenting it. …However, there are two things. First, there’s still some concern with the new standard because, unfortunately, it’s not complete. …It’s on the subject of intact forest landscapes and Indigenous cultural landscapes, which both have profound implications, potentially, in Canadian contexts. …The second one is that this change to the standard is only half of the changes that FSC are currently doing. By the end of the month they are also changing how they’re approaching chain-of-custody certification. …But that’s hard to determine at this point; we have not seen the end product there and will be closely watching this.

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Endangered species to make way for sprawl development

By Ontario Nature
Cision Newswire
June 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

TORONTO – Today the Government of Ontario passed the More Homes, More Choice Act, a law that opens significant wildlife habitat to sprawl development through amendments to the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA). The amendments give new powers to the Minister to delay, limit and remove protections for at-risk species. …”The Endangered Species Act has been torn to shreds,” says Kelsey Scarfone, program manager with Environmental Defence. “Those with a vested, short-term economic interest in sprawl development now have free rein…” “The forestry industry, which is contributing to, if not driving, the decline of boreal caribou in Ontario, successfully lobbied in the past for exemptions to the ESA meaning they didn’t have to comply with the prohibitions,” says Rachel Plotkin, Boreal Project Manager with the David Suzuki Foundation. “Now there is no need for an exemption—the ESA has been weakened to the extent that status quo logging operations can continue under its watch.”

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Sheriff’s Office Warns Protesters Against Logging Near Rainbow Ridge This Morning

By Kym Kemp
Redheaded Blackbelt
June 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Today, protesters were warned by the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department not to trespass on property owned by HRC Humboldt Redwood Company after a small group was located in the area of Monument Gate about five miles southwest of Rio Dell. Rainbow Ridge, a portion of an 18,000-acre piece owned by HRC which has been slated for logging is beyond the gate and located on the headwaters of the upper and lower forks of the Mattole River. “It looks there were a total of five to six protesters when we were on the scene about 7:45 [this morning,]” Samantha Karges, spokesperson for the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office told us. “Our units just warned them to not to trespass and are not on the scene any longer.” The proposed logging in the Rainbow Ridge area has been hotly contested for several years.

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Lost Coast League Cries “Foul” when Humboldt Redwood Co. Begins Felling Old-Growth at Rainbow Ridge

By Lost Coast League
Cision Newswire
June 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

PETROLIA, Calif. — Activists on Rainbow Ridge have reported that logging by Humboldt Redwood Company (HRC) commenced late Wednesday, June 5, in the last remaining unprotected intact Douglas-fir/hardwood forest in coastal California. Rainbow Ridge, located about 25 miles south of Eureka, has been the scene of resistance to old-growth logging since 1990.  Lawsuits, blockades, and tree-sits have kept much of the forest standing. The remote area is the home to numerous threatened and endangered species, including Golden Eagle, Northern Goshawk, and Northern Spotted Owl and is the headwaters for the wild Mattole River stocks of coho and Chinook salmon. Despite negotiations between HRC and Mattole citizens groups (Lost Coast League, Mattole Restoration Council, Mattole Salmon Group) and other environmental organizations on the North Coast, HRC has refused to allow the groups to achieve permanent protection for these Mattole watershed lands. 

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Finland commits to 2035 zero-carbon target

Smart Energy International
June 5, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Finland has committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2035, one of the earliest legally-binding national climate neutrality target dates. Earlier in 2019, the country announced its commitment to ban coal-fired energy by 2029. …The government says the new agreement will be legislated into law by revisions in Finland’s Climate Act, and will be delivered along with increased welfare spending as part of a package of changes. The country has announced that the goal will not be reliant on the offsetting of carbon emissions through the purchase of carbon credits from other countries. The climate deal will be achieved through energy taxation reforms, new rules regarding electricity generation from burning wood and other biomass, increased investment in rail infrastructure, and nature conservation efforts.

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Health & Safety

Ignoring climate change is bad for Albertans’ health

By Joe Vipond and Kim Perrotta
The Edmonton Journal
June 7, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

…Over the last week, thousands of residents from northern communities in Alberta were evacuated from their homes because of climate-exacerbated wildfires. …At the same, millions of Albertans were exposed to extremely high levels of air pollution as smoke from wildfires blanketed their communities. Edmonton, a city with a population just shy of one million, had Air Quality Health Index readings of 7 to 10-plus last week with a peak of 72 at one point. …High levels of air pollution are harmful for everybody. Nobody is immune. …But they are particularly dangerous for very young children, elderly people and those with pre-existing health conditions. …The premier inferred last week that climate change doesn’t cause forest fires and stated that “carbon taxes don’t fight forest fires in B.C. or Alberta” but neither of those statements reflect the science. 

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Forest Fires

Forest fire threatens Pickle Lake

By Ryan Forbes
Kenora Online
June 6, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

Pickle Lake residents are on alert, as an out of control forest fire threatens the community. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and Pickle Lake Fire and Rescue are on scene.  Staff with the Township of Pickle Lake say that the community is not under an evacuation at this time, and that residents have been asked to return to their homes. Earlier in the evening, residents were advised to pack a small bag and move in the direction of the airport, if given notice. The fire has been reported to be between 600 and 700 hectares in size. It originated near the community of Pickle Lake, between the town site and the neighbouring area of Central Patricia. The fire is listed as not under control. Attack crews and aerial suppression are on scene.

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Officials struggling to keep track as evacuees flee blaze near Pikangikum First Nation

CBC News
June 6, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

It’s been a “chaotic” few days as officials try to determine how many people have fled a northwestern Ontario community threatened by forest fire, according to Derek Fox, deputy grand chief of Nishnawbe Aski Nation, a group that represents northern First Nations. Some 2,000 people have been air-lifted out of Pikangikum First Nation on a military cargo plane since the fire broke out nearby on May 29. But Pikangikum is home to approximately 3,800 people, and is mainly accessed by air. Officials aren’t sure where the rest are, Fox said. “I know that a lot of people have left that are not accounted for … and I know that there’s many in Winnipeg, ” Fox told CBC News. “[We] want to ensure that everyone is out of the community.” Evacuees, especially those who “self-evacuated,” are being urged to register with officials, wherever they are.

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