Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: June 28, 2019

Today’s Takeaway

Sawmill curtailments beget pulpmill curtailments in BC

The Tree Frog Forestry News
June 28, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

Sawmill curtailments beget pulpmill curtailments in BC as Canfor Pulp announces summer downtime. Meanwhile—opining on the root causes: John Bergenske says it’s poorly managed forests; while Vaughn Palmer speaks of the “unavoidable aspects” but also why the lack of urgency by the NDP government.

In Forestry/Climate news: killing aspen increases Alberta’s wildfire risks; salal dye-off a sign of BC’s climate change; cap-and-trade protests continue in Oregon; BC health experts add to their vulnerable people list; and Spain battles blazes as heatwave grips Europe.

Finally, the promoters promote: plastic pollution, wheat-straw pulp; eco-friendly housing; a natural 24-hour fuel; and climate-smart wood. 

An early Happy Canada Day greeting from the Frogs. Back on Tuesday.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Straw mill concept remains alive

By Robert Arnason
The Western Producer
June 27, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

For years, investors have flirted with the idea of building a wheat-straw pulp mill in Western Canada. Those plans and good intentions didn’t pan out, possibly because of the huge capital cost of building a mill. The idea, however, isn’t dead. A mill could be built in the next five years, or so, because wheat-straw pulp mills are being constructed in Washington state and Germany. There’s a realistic chance the next one could be built in Canada because the pulp industry is shifting its attention and investment dollars toward wheat straw. …“We believe there will be something (built) in Saskatchewan, in particular.” Columbia Pulp, an American firm, is building a wheat-straw pulp mill in eastern Washington, near the town of Pomeroy. …Pulp from wheat straw can be used to make packaging, molded products such as plates and food containers, tissues and towels.

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Loss of lumber felt at Port

By David Wiwchar
The Peak 93.3
June 27, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Port Alberni Port Authority released their financials yesterday, which showed the effects of the loss of lumber shipments. Western Forest Products last shipped lumber from the port in December of 2017, choosing instead to truck their lumber to Nanaimo and ship it out of Duke Point. That caused a $700,000 drop in revenue for the Port, which was balanced by a similar drop in labour costs as they didn’t have to hire longshoremen to load the ships. According to CEO Zoran Knezevic, the Port Alberni Port Authority is unique in Canada because it is not just a land-owner, but also the operator, running four marinas as well as their three shipping berths.

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Premier preaching patience to forestry workers now without paycheques

By Vaughn Palmer
The Vancouver Sun
June 27, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

John Horgan

VICTORIA — The B.C. forest industry started the year on a precarious footing and the downhill slide has been building ever since, hitting community after community. …Still, the New Democrats, for all their historic affinity for the interests of working people, have offered little but sympathy for hard hit communities. …Premier John Horgan even professed to see the bright side of the closures recently. …Callous as some of these comments may seem… the New Democrats do have a point about the unavoidable aspects of the industry downturn. The fall-down effect on the timber supply is real. …Horgan is right that the industry needs a value-added transformation. But he would have a better chance… if the NDP were less bent on hitting the industry with higher taxes and tougher regulation. Besides, there’s a political dimension to the NDP government’s lack of urgency on this file. Most of the 30 or so communities hit by layoffs and closures are represented by Liberal MLAs.

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Star Building Materials expands its local presence

By David Parker
The Calgary Herald
June 27, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Neil Crockett

CALGARY — The area to the east of Highway 2 surrounding CrossIron Mills… is a hive of activity as developments continue to gobble up more industrial sites. …One of the latest is Star Building Materials. …It houses a huge distribution yard, office and logistics building, a 24,000-square-foot warehouse with 3,600-square-foot canopy, and a 5,000-square-foot engineered wood products saw shop. …The new yard at Balzac is now the storage yard for trusses and where house and garage packages are assembled, bar-coded and delivered from. Star began as a lumber yard but today supplies everything from framing to finishing, offering a huge supply of building materials, engineered wood floor systems, trusses, shingles and interior finishing. …Star has 118 staff in Calgary, including 30 in the new Balzac location.

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Canfor Pulp Temporarily Curtailing NBSK Pulp Production this Summer

Canfor News Release
June 27, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Vancouver, BC, Canada – Canfor Pulp Products Inc. announced today it will be implementing phased summer curtailments in July and August at its Intercontinental and Northwood NBSK pulp mills in Prince George, British Columbia (BC). This is due to a significant deterioration in market conditions, in combination with fibre supply constraints and higher fibre costs resulting from recent sawmill curtailments across the BC industry. The curtailments will reduce Canfor Pulp’s production output by approximately 75,000 tonnes of NBSK pulp. The Company intends to resume full production at Intercontinental and Northwood in September.Canfor Pulp has three northern bleached softwood kraft pulp mills, one BCTMP mill, and one kraft paper mill in BC.

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Forestry minister says province still communicating with company on pellet plant

By Stephan Roberts
The Telegram
June 27, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

GREAT NORTHERN PENINSULA, N.L. – The Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources still believes a pellet plant operation could still go ahead on the Great Northern Peninsula. But there’s been little development since forestry permits were issued in November and it’s raising some concerns. …In November 2018, Timberlands International, a subsidiary of AEG, was awarded two forestry permits for five years for districts 17 and 18. …The company would then use the small diameter wood to produce wood pellets while partnering with a sawmill that would cut the large-diameter wood for lumber. …However, no partner has been found to cut the lumber and there has been no update on the construction of the pellet plant since the deal was announced.

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Comment period closing on proposed $300M Bonfield sawmill

By Lindsay Kelly
Northern Ontario Business
June 27, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

ONTARIO — As the public comment period for a proposed $300-million sawmill in Bonfield, east of North Bay, winds down, its developer is hopeful to soon be in possession of a facility licence, which would give him the go-ahead to start construction. ……Announced in July 2017, the project calls for Bonfield Forest Products, to construct a $300-million state-of-the-art wood processing facility that would annually consume roughly 400,000 cubic metres of hardwood and softwood fibre. …If approved, the facility is expected to produce approximately 90 million board feet of product per year and is anticipated to employ 90 people to start. The mill’s end products would include conifer lumber, hardwood lumber, and red and white pine timbers for home construction, in addition to hardwood flooring… mouldings, and fuelwood.

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Cascades Announces Winning Bid at Auction for the Acquisition of Orchids Paper Products Assets

By Cascades Inc.
Cision Newswire
June 28, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

KINGSEY FALLS, ON — Cascades… has won the auction to acquire certain of the assets of Orchids Paper Products in proceedings before the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. …The transaction, which will be completed for a cash consideration of US$207 million, will cover substantially all the company’s assets, including the Barnwell, South Carolina and Pryor, Oklahoma operations, as well as certain equipment and various of Orchid’s Paper commercial arrangements with Fabrica de Papel San Francisco, S.A. de C.V., based in Mexicali, Mexico, and certain affiliates thereof. …The acquisition will allow Cascades to accelerate the modernization of its tissue asset base, reduce sub-contracting and transportation costs, and increase its geographical footprint.

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American Wood Council and American Forest & Paper Association Welcome Proposed Rule Under the Clean Air Act

American Wood Council and American Forest & Paper Association
ThomasNet News
June 27, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

WASHINGTON – American Wood Council (AWC)… and American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA)… issued a statement regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) issuance of a new rule to reclassify certain major sources as area sources under the Clean Air Act. …Robert Glowinski, President and CEO of AWC: “The old ‘Once In, Always In’ policy arbitrarily put a manufacturing facility into a regulatory time warp from which it could never escape. In contrast, EPA’s proposed rule would allow mills that are able to reduce their emissions below Clean Air Act thresholds to be free of onerous additional reporting, monitoring and recordkeeping requirements as long as they operate to stay below the cutoffs. …Sensible regulations, such as this proposed rule, can provide the protection of health and the environment, while encouraging industry air emissions improvements.”

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Creating New Pulp Mill Emissions Limits Unnecessary, EPA Says

By Maya Goldman
Bloomberg Environment
June 26, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

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Hampton Lumber speaks out on cap and trade – Losing the Oregon Way: Cap and Trade and the Growing Rural-Urban Divide

By Hampton Lumber
Tillamook Headlight Herald
June 27, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Last Wednesday, roughly 300 men and women from rural Oregon missed a day’s work to travel to the Oregon Capitol to make their voices heard. …They are critical to our work– ensuring products get from the forest, to the mill, to the consumer–and they are concerned and, quite frankly, insulted by this bill. …Supporters claim this bill targets the 100 largest polluters in Oregon, but the subsequent increase in energy costs will be passed down to the rural family-owned small businesses… …However, the focus on Oregon emissions is misplaced. If passed, part of the achieved emissions reductions in Oregon will likely be the result of businesses moving to other states… This bill, while undoubtedly well-intentioned, is not a good fit for Oregon. …Rural communities and the people who …produce our renewable wood products, and keep our forests forested …deserve respect and a voice in this process.

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Barratt Developments acquires Borders timber frame firm in major deal

By Scott Reid
The Scotsman
June 27, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Housebuilding giant Barratt Developments has snapped up Borders-based Oregon Timber Frame, one of Britain’s largest timber frame manufacturers. Over the last three years, Barratt has built some 5,500 homes using timber frames and said it was committed to increasing the number of properties it builds using offsite construction techniques. The group currently uses timber frame in the majority of residential properties it builds in Scotland and is increasing its use across England and Wales. Oregon is already one of Barratt’s key timber frame suppliers. While the value of the deal was not disclosed, Barratt noted that the acquisition would have no material effect on the board’s expectations for the financial year. Steven Boyes, chief operating officer at Barratt, said: “Barratt is committed to increasing the number of homes we build using offsite construction as part of our overall volume growth aspirations and to mitigate the current skills challenges facing the industry.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

10,000 Changes: Canada’s commitment to rethink plastics

The Royal Canadian Geographical Society
Cision Newswire
June 27, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada

OTTAWA — It’s clear that Canada has a plastic pollution problem. While plastic has become an everyday convenience in so many ways, we are only now beginning to understand its lasting impacts on our environment and health. That’s why Canadian Geographic and Recycling Council of Ontario have partnered to launch Canada’s commitment to rethink plastics through 10,000 Changes, an innovative plastic engagement program funded by the Government of Canada. …Jo-Anne St. Godard, Executive Director, Recycling Council of Ontario… “10,000 Changes offers Canadians the information and tools they need make simple changes about plastics, specific materials, and alternatives; and serves as a vehicle to recognize innovation, leadership, and most importantly, action to mitigate plastic waste.”

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New Group Promotes “Climate-Smart” Wood

By Scott Gibson
Green Building Advisor
June 27, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and four environmental advocacy groups in the Pacific Northwest have launched a promotional campaign for forest practices and wood products that help lower carbon emissions. The Climate-Smart Wood Group says it wants to help builders, architects, and other buyers understand the difference between wood products on the market and make it easier to locate lumber that meets sustainable forestry standards. In a statement laying out its goals, the group said that growing interest in mass-timber construction underscores the need to choose wood products carefully. Promoters often cite timber as a less carbon-intensive building product than concrete and steel, the group notes, but that’s not necessarily the case. “All wood is not the same,” the statement says. …Other groups involved in the Climate-Smart program are Ecotrust, Sustainable Northwest, the Northwest Natural Resource Group, and the Washington Environmental Council. 

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Eco-friendly prefab social housing in France is built from wood and straw

By Lucy Wang
inhabit
June 27, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

the commune of Nogent-le-Rotrou in northern France gained a new social housing development that’s… a model for eco-friendly architecture. Designed by Paris-based architectural firm NZI Architectes, the project comprises thirteen gable-roofed homes built from prefabricated timber wall components with straw insulation. …the homes …were constructed in a factory off-site, [which] minimized construction waste [and] helped save time and money. …“By opting for the construction of wood & straw, biosourced construction is favored, which limits the use of unsustainable resources,” explain the architects, who also used straw for insulation due to the material’s durability and effectiveness. “The constructive advantage of wood and straw construction compared to the traditional wooden structure and MOB wood frame walls is the possibility of complete prefabrication of the wall. The low weight of the wooden structure and straw allows the production of large areas of factory walls.”

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Forestry

Herbicide, killing of aspen likely shares blame for growing wildfire damage

By Elie Stolte
The Edmonton Journal
June 28, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Yes, climate change is real. But researchers say there’s another factor likely feeding the flames eating up Alberta’s forests. The widespread practice of killing aspen trees, which forestry companies mechanically remove or spray with herbicide from helicopters, is also having an impact. …Aspen are less likely to burn than spruce or pine and cool the forest so well that, when fully-leafed out, wildland firefighters flee to a stand of aspen if the fire unexpectedly shifts. They’re also food for moose in winter. …Forestry companies consider aspen to be a weed when growing conifers, spruce or pine. So roughly 30,000 hectares a year of forest are sprayed with glyphosate, the active ingredient in RoundUp. …It creates a monoculture, killing all broad-leafed plants, making a coniferous tree plantation instead of a forest. …There’s no simple answer here. …Plus, the science of fire and forestry is complex,

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Poorly managed forests responsible for mill closures

By John Bergenske, Wildsight
The Times-Colonist
June 28, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

John Bergenske

Sawmill shutdowns and closures in BC should come as no surprise. …Forest fires, a slump in the global timber market and the pine-beetle epidemic have been blamed, but — while these are real factors — the crisis is rooted in a much deeper problem: A long history of poor forest management. B.C.’s forests, under the Forests and Range Practices Act, are being managed primarily for the profit of large corporations, not what’s in the best interest of local communities. …One key issue is that the last B.C. government eliminated appurtenance. …These changes have resulted in a concentration of forest harvesting rights in the hands of a few major companies  …B.C. ‘s decision on this sale under Bill 22 will be the first big test of the government’s resolve to regain control of our communities’ forests.

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Celebrate our outdoors by getting youth in green jobs

By Zac Wagman
Winnipeg Free Press
June 28, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Zac Wagman

[I’m making] the journey overland across Canada on a bicycle — and a wooden one, at that. …the Project Learning Tree Canada Green Ride for Green Jobs tour [will] help open the eyes of Canada’s youth to the array of challenging, rewarding and professional opportunities available working in this country’s great outdoors. My long bike ride is part of my efforts as green jobs manager at Project Learning Tree Canada (PLT Canada). By offering thousands of green job opportunities and promoting unique career pathways… — in rural, Indigenous and urban communities. We are able to achieve this thanks to the support of our great networks at the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the Canadian Parks Council, who have been valuable partners in helping connect us with hundreds of great organizations that are keen to hire youth. On this Canada Day, I’m pausing here in Winnipeg — to celebrate our country’s natural and forest heritage.

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Salal dying off in numbers that might surprise

North Island Gazette
June 27, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The salal, salmonberry and thimbleberry, once considered the hardy perennials of the woods and the foundational shrubs of our North Island woods, are in trouble and dying off in numbers that are catching many by surprise. …Richard Hamelin, a professor of forest pathology at UBC’s Faculty of Forestry, suggested unusual weather events may be the leading cause. Locally, Andrew Ashford, District Manager for BC’s North Island/Central Coast Natural Resources District also suggests climate may be the issue. …Port McNeill expert in the collection and use of non-timber products such as berries and mushrooms, Graham MacDonald agrees with Ashford’s assessment. MacDonald confirmed our climate and forests are, “heading into a change.” Using moss as just one example, he went on to explain, “Moss, which can hold 25 times the water (volume to size) of any other plant in the forest is the driest I’ve ever seen it.”

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1,000 timber workers and supporters gather to protest cap and trade, diesel standards

By Aubrey Wieber
The Salem Reporter
June 27, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Loggers and logging trucks made their way from the fairgrounds in Salem to the Capitol this morning to protest two bills – House Bills 2020 and 2007.  A long convoy of logging trucks drove along Court Street honking, while people held signs and cheered. The Capitol on Thursday was transformed. The business suits were swapped out for camo, cutoff shirts and Three Percenter sweatshirts. …The log truckers have become a recent presence at the Capitol. HB 2020 would increase the cost of motor vehicle fuels, and they also fear it could further limit how much logging could be done in the state. However, this week, the Senate Democratic leaders said the bill is dead. …The group is also protesting HB 2007, which establishes a diesel standard for medium and heavy-duty trucks.

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Romanian national parks and forest at risk

By Luc Bas
EurActiv
June 26, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The new Global Assessment report by the “World Biodiversity Council” (IPBES) makes clear that we are not just facing a dangerous climate breakdown but also a critical ecosystem crisis. Both crises are unfortunately mutually reinforcing the pathway to possible collapse but action to tackle these urgencies can also work hand in hand to strengthen nature and reduce CO2 emissions. …This is also a key for Europe, where on the one hand nature protection legislation is leading edge, but pristine nature is still under pressure. …These relatively tiny natural leftovers – such as our last few free-flowing rivers or natural forests – deserve even more conservation efforts. …The alarming findings of the IPBES report need to be taken seriously. Within Europe, this means: Comprehensive protection of Europe’s last large intact ecosystems needs to move up in the political ranking of issues of importance.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Wood Is a Natural 24-Hour Renewable Fuel

Letter by John Keppler, President and CEO of Enviva Partners LP
Wall Street Journal
June 27, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

Bioenergy should be a bigger part of an all-in strategy to reduce carbon emissions and limit dependence on fossil fuels. “A Logjam in Fire-Weary Paradise” (U.S. News, June 15) highlights a major problem in California—and a clear opportunity. California should follow the lead of Europe and Japan—and the recommendation of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—and promote the use of renewable wood energy. Bioenergy (wood pellets) uses wood that … isn’t usable by timber companies. This includes the type of wood that is stacking up around California communities, as well as the so-called thinnings and underbrush that need to be removed to ensure healthy forests and fewer fires. This is a win-win for California. Bioenergy should be a bigger part of an all-in strategy to reduce carbon emissions and limit dependence on fossil fuels. 

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Lumber CEO to loggers at Capitol: ‘Who better takes care of this earth than you all do?’

By Sarah Zimmerman
The Associated Press in KCBY News
June 27, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

SALEM, Ore. — A parade of trucks and tractors circled the Oregon Capitol on Thursday in support of Republican lawmakers who have walked out to block emissions-lowering climate legislation in a political crisis that stretched into an eighth day. All 11 Republican senators were once again missing from the Statehouse, denying Democrats the numbers to vote on the plan that would be the second in the nation to cap and trade pollution credits among companies. Despite assurances from the Democratic Senate president that the measure doesn’t have enough support to pass, Republicans stayed away. …Hundreds of farmers, loggers and truckers rallied at the Capitol in solidarity with the Republican senators, pushing them to stay away until the legislative session ends Sunday. …The climate plan has exposed lingering tensions between cities like Portland and more rural areas of the state. 

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Climate change activists hosting ‘die-in’ in downtown Victoria

BC Local News
June 27, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

A Vancouver Island conservation organization is hosting a “wildfire smoke die-in to save life and lungs” in downtown Victoria on Friday in protest of the LNG pipeline and “policies that compounds climate change and its effects.” On Friday, June 28, Extinction Rebellion activists and invited speakers are gathering… to “draw attention to wildfire smoke season.” …Climate Emergency Institute spokesperson Dr. Peter Carter… “The annual wildfire smoke season shows up in everybody’s life every year, and it will keep getting worse. …“British Columbia is going to be severely impacted by increasing heat waves, drought and wild fires,” said Carter. “This is an emergency now, which the public health departments and governments need to acknowledge.”

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Health & Safety

Smoky summers: Health experts extend their warnings to pregnant women

By Lori Culbert
The Vancouver Sun
June 28, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

When wildfire smoke enveloped Metro Vancouver last summer, Nikki Rogers noticed soot collecting on the walls of her White Rock condo. …This summer she will take even greater precautions because she is pregnant. And this is the first year that Vancouver Coastal Health and Metro Vancouver have included pregnant women on their list of people especially vulnerable to wildfire smoke, along with asthmatics, the elderly, and people with chronic heart and lung conditions. …Experts believe British Columbians are about to experience another hot, smoke-filled summer. …Since April 1, the B.C. Wildfire Service has recorded 377 fires that have burned more than 110 square kilometres. …Wildfire smoke contains many pollutants, but the most dangerous to human health is fine particulate matter, a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets that are generally 2.5 micrometers or less in size.

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New safety program to help loggers and reduce workers’ comp

Vermont Biz
June 26, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: US East, United States

Governor Phil Scott today announced a new initiative to address the high cost of workers’ compensation insurance for logging contractors in Vermont’s forest economy. The Vermont Logger Safety and Workers’ Compensation Insurance Program—developed collaboratively by the Departments of Financial Regulation, Labor and Forests, Parks and Recreation, with input from logging safety trainers, the National Council on Compensation Insurance, insurance carriers and business owners in the forestry sector—will modernize safety training for logging contractors and their employees, reducing injuries and insurance claims and allowing them to qualify for reduced insurance rates. “As we work to grow the economy and make Vermont a more affordable place to do business, the Vermont Logger Safety and Workers’ Compensation Insurance Program will help employers provide safer workplaces for their employees while lowering their costs and allowing them to create more jobs in this sector,” said Governor Phil Scott.

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Guidelines for forestry industry fatigue management released

OHS News Australia
June 26, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: International

The Logging Investigation and Training Association (LITA) has released guidelines for developing and implementing a fatigue management policy for the forestry industry. The material aims to assist forestry industry participants to identify, assess and manage the risks associated with fatigue. The guidance material offers a structured approach to the development of a fatigue risk management system including a fatigue policy, risk assessment tools and risk-based control options to manage fatigue. SafeWork SA commends the new forestry industry fatigue management guidelines and has visited a number of forestry businesses to check on fatigue management. It has issued Improvement Notices to encourage the development and implementation of appropriate fatigue management plans.

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Forest Fires

Spain battles biggest wildfires in 20 years as heatwave grips Europe

By Jon Henley and Sam Jones
The Guardian
June 27, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

Firefighters battled wildfires at a scale not seen for 20 years in Spain and southern France was placed on unprecedented red alert as much of western Europe sweltered in an extreme early-summer heatwave on Thursday. With temperatures in northern Spain and southern France set to exceed 44C, governments urged their citizens to take the utmost precaution… The conditions led officials to raise the French extreme heat alert to red. The alert, signifying a “dangerous weather phenomenon”, was the first since the system was introduced in 2004 following a 2003 heatwave …In Spain, more than 500 firefighters and soldiers struggled to bring a huge forest fire under control in the Catalan province of Tarragona that has so far burned across 5,500 hectares of land. …Scientists have said Europe’s 2019 heatwave is closely linked to the climate emergency and that such extreme weather events will be many times more likely over the coming decades.

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