Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: September 5, 2019

Today’s Takeaway

Partial victory for Canada on lumber dispute with US

The Tree Frog Forestry News
September 5, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

The Canadian gov’t and softwood lumber industry are applauding a partial victory as a NAFTA panel says the US injury determination is flawed. No response from the US Coalition yet but Western Red Cedar producers are disappointment they’re still lumped in with structural lumber. 

In other Business news: Western Forest Products and USW begin mediation; Canfor extends its Taylor pulp mill curtailment; BC’s Forest Critic points to solutions; and more on Interfor’s Hammond Mill closure. Elsewhere, Lahaie Lumber expands in Ontario, JD Irving opposes new tax on machinery; and Domtar/Seaspan are panned for past inaction on pollution.

Finally, the Canadian cement industry is none-too-pleased with the Ontario carpenters’ endorsement of mass timber.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs on NAFTA panel decision on Canadian softwood lumber

Government of Canada
September 5, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

Chrystia Freeland

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement regarding the NAFTA Chapter 19 binational panel decision on U.S. imports of Canadian softwood lumber: “Canada welcomes the unanimous NAFTA Chapter 19 binational panel decision that there were insufficient grounds for the U.S. International Trade Commission to determine that Canadian softwood lumber products had materially injured the U.S. softwood industry. “This decision supports what Canada has been saying all along: U.S. duties on Canadian softwood lumber are unfair and unwarranted. The panel’s decision is an important step in the right direction in having these duties on Canadian exports removed and the sums collected reimbursed.

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Joint Statement Regarding the North American Free Trade Agreement Chapter 19 Injury Panel Decision

By Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Government of Ontario
September 5, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

TORONTO, ONTARIO — John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, and Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, released the following joint statement today following the decision issued by a NAFTA Chapter 19 dispute panel: “This decision makes clear that the underlying earlier U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) softwood lumber determination was riddled with serious errors. As Ontario expected would be the case, the panel has directed the ITC to issue a new determination addressing several issues and findings that the ITC got wrong in their original investigation. This also affirms that the imposition of the current countervailing duties against Canadian exports of softwood lumber are unjustified. Ontario will continue to strongly defend its softwood lumber industry, communities and workers in this unwarranted and unfair dispute.  

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Partial victory for Canada on lumber dispute with U.S.

By Nelson Bennett
Business in Vancouver
September 4, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Canadian softwood lumber producers are applauding what they see as a partial victory in the latest softwood lumber dispute with the US. …On Wednesday, a NAFTA panel ruled that claims of injury by American lumber producers against Canadian producers are flawed, and must be sent back to the US International Trade Commission (USITC) for reconsideration. …Western Forest Products also applauded the decision, though it expressed disappointment that the NAFTA panel had not also ruled to exclude western red cedar from duties. Canadian producers of specialty western red cedar products argue these products it should not be lumped into the same category as dimensional lumber. CEO Don Demens said… “Softwood lumber duties continue to disproportionately impact high value, specialty wood products including Western Red Cedar, that have been unfairly brought into the dispute over structural lumber.”

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BC Lumber Trade Council comments on NAFTA Panel Ruling on Softwood Lumber

By Mina Laudan
BC Lumber Trade Council
September 4, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Vancouver – Susan Yurkovich, President of the BC Lumber Trade Council made the following statement with respect to today’s decision by the NAFTA Panel reviewing the final affirmative injury determination of the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC): “The BC Lumber Trade Council is gratified to see the NAFTA Panel’s ruling today that the USITC’s determination that the U.S. lumber industry is “injured” by Canadian lumber imports is flawed in a number of important respects.  The Panel’s decision to send the case back to the USITC for a new determination is in keeping with the fact that in previous softwood lumber litigation, not one of the USITC’s affirmative determinations on injury survived appeal to a NAFTA or WTO panel. The BC Lumber Trade Council is disappointed, however, by the Panel’s conclusion that Western Red Cedar/Redwood was not entitled to its own injury analysis.” The Panel has given the USITC 90 days to issue a new determination.

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Western Welcomes Return to Bargaining Table; Responds to NAFTA Challenge Panel Decision

By Western Forest Products
Global Newswire
September 4, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER, BC — Western Forest Products announced that the Company and the United Steelworkers Local 1-1937 expect to begin mediation with independent-mediator Vince Ready on September 13. “We look forward to resuming discussions to negotiate a collective agreement that creates certainty for our employees, while maintaining Western’s competitive position during this particularly challenging time,” said Don Demens, President and CEO of Western. The strike, which commenced on July 1, 2019, affects all the Company’s USW certified manufacturing and timberlands operations in BC. Western also responded to the NAFTA Binational Panel’s decision… “While we are pleased with the Panel’s decision to send the injury case back to the USITC for review, we are disappointed that the Panel did not make a similar finding in relation to the ruling that cedar/redwood is a distinct product group from commodity structural lumber”, said Don Demens.

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Interfor closes B.C. sawmill in latest blow for troubled lumber industry

The Canadian Press in the Times-Colonist
September 4, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER — Interfor Corp. plans to permanently close its Hammond sawmill in Maple Ridge, B.C., affecting more than 100 workers. …Interfor chief executive Duncan Davies says the company, which has 18 mills across North America, will seek jobs for the affected workers at its other operations or at outside mills. Interfor is still awaiting a provincial decision on its $60-million offer to acquire Canfor Corp’s Interior cutting rights after that company closed its Vavenby sawmill in July. …None of the timber was earmarked for Interfor’s coastal mills but a company statement said the Hammond closure could create opportunities to increase supply for its other Metro Vancouver sawmill, located in Delta. The Hammond mill mainly processes Western red cedar and has a two-shift capacity, but Interfor said it has been operating with a single shift for several years due to log supply constraints and other issues.

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Following another mill closure announcement, BC Forests Critic points to potential solutions

By Dylana Milobar
CFJC Today Everything Kamloops
September 5, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

…The BC Liberal forests critic, Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad says many forestry companies have cited high stumpage fees, lack of supply, and pricing issues during softwood lumber disputes with the US as factors of industry decline. “Softwood lumber is a big part of the problem and we need to be stepping up there, but stumpage is another issue. In Alberta, for example, they adjust their stumpage on a monthly basis. We do it annually with some minor quarterly adjustments. We could look at transitioning to the same type of program that they do in Alberta, without it having an impact on our trade relations with the U.S.” Rustad says there are a number of solutions the B.C. government could be looking at. …Come fall when MLAs are back in Victoria, forestry, mill closures, and curtailments are expected to be prevalent topics brought up in the legislature.

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Canfor extends Taylor curtailment to Sept. 30

By Matt Preprost
The Alaska Highway News
September 4, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The curtailment at the Taylor pulp mill is being extended another three weeks, but Canfor says it’s prepared to bring the mill back online at the end of September. The mill, which produces bleached chemi-thermo mechanical pulp, has been idling since the end of June and was planned to restart Sept. 9. “Canfor is prepared to bring the Taylor pulp mill back up on September 30th. This will allow us to build the residual fibre inventory in advance of restarting the mill,” said Michelle Ward, director of corporate communications. …The curtailment began June 29 and was supposed to end after the August long weekend. …The Taylor mill has an annual production capacity of of 220,000 tonnes of pulp. The extended summer curtailment has cut production by roughly 50,000 tonnes. 

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Owner of Site that’s Contaminated Burrard Inlet for Years Now Wants a Tax Break

By Michelle Gamage
The Tyee
September 4, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER — Across the water from… the Stanley Park Seawall is a collection of industrial sites with a dirty secret. Seaspan largely owns and operates these industrial lands. And for at least 24 years the corporation and the provincial government have known that toxic creosote — classified as a likely carcinogen — has been flowing from the contaminated lands into the Burrard Inlet. Although the provincial government… began talks with Seaspan on a cleanup plan in 1995, the government took no action to force a cleanup and limit pollution of the inlet until 2010. The environment ministry spent 15 years discussing a remediation plan with Seaspan and Domtar, the land’s previous owner. …Now Seaspan is arguing that the cleanup costs should entitle it to a big property tax break. …But [Tyler] Hooper wrote the main reason for delays was disputes between Seaspan and Domtar over who would foot the bill.

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At least 130 losing jobs as Interfor announces closure of century-old Maple Ridge mill

CBC News
September 4, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Interfor has announced plans to permanently close its Hammond Cedar Sawmill in Maple Ridge, B.C., by the end of the year, the latest in a growing list of mill closures to rattle the province amid an industry slump. …Duncan Davies, Interfor’s president and CEO, also said “cedar producers have also been disproportionately impacted” by duties on softwood shipments into the United States. …”It’s devastating on our members … it’s probably closer to 200 people that will be affected,” said Al Bieksa, USW president. Bieksa said the union had been in bargaining with Interfor since early June, but alarm bells went up when the company stalled. In August, the union’s members at Hammond and at Interfor’s Acorn mill in Delta voted 97 per cent in favour of strike action. …B.C. Forests Minister Doug Donaldson said Thursday he understands the stress and turmoil to workers layoffs bring but said the upheaval isn’t limited to the province.

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Business representatives, MLAs speak out against proposed heavy machinery tax

By Silas Brown
Global News
September 4, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

NEW BRUNSWICK — The committee on law amendments began a hearing Wednesday, which examines a proposal to remove tax exemptions from heavy machinery. Saint John Harbour MLA Gerry Lowe… brought forward the proposal. “I.. don’t think that heavy industry is paying its fair share in Saint John, and this will prove one way or the other but it still doesn’t mean the government will make a change,” he said. But the committee hearing had only just gotten underway when finance minister Ernie Steeves said that he does not support the proposal. …Currently Alberta is one of the few provinces to have some sort of machinery tax, but the main population centres of Edmonton and Calgary are exempt. …“At a certain point in time you reach a stage where you are anti-competitive…  you’re not going to move a pulp mill, so… you shut down,” said J.D. Irving’s Chris MacDonald.

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Sudbury-area lumber company establishing new plant

Northern Ontario Business
September 4, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

The expansion of sawmilling activities south of Sudbury will create new jobs and increase productivity, following a funding announcement from FedNor. Lahaie Lumber, which is located in the Municipality of French River about an hour south of Sudbury, is receiving a $775,000 repayable contribution from the federal funding agency. …the funds will be used to purchase equipment for a new sawmill currently under construction. With this expansion, Lahaie Lumber expects to double its current production capacity, enabling it to expand into new markets. Local and regional transportation and logging industries will also benefit from a higher volume of products produced and shipped from the mill, the release said. “We would like to thank the Government of Canada and FedNor for this investment. Our community and the region will certainly benefit from the growth of Lahaie Lumber Ltd.,” said Mike Lahaie, owner and president at Lahaie Lumber.

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Finance & Economics

Wood Costs Declined for Many North American Pulpmills

By Hakan Ekstrom, Wood Resources International
Yahoo Finance
September 5, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

SEATTLEUSA — Wood fiber costs fell in most regions of North America during the first six months of 2019, with the biggest declines in Western Canada and the US Northwest. Prices for pulplogs and wood chips in the US South bucked the trend, with softwood fiber moving up to its highest levels in three years and hardwood fiber prices hitting an all-time-high.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Build with facts, not opinion

Letter by Michael ScSweeney, Cement Association of Canada
The Toronto Sun
September 4, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

Mike Yorke’s opinion piece about building with mass timber is simply that – an opinion (“Wood could be the future”). Facts tell a different story. Yorke, and he is not alone in doing this, heralds the 18-storey Brock Commons in B.C. as an example of a highrise building made “almost entirely from wood.” Not really. What he leaves out is that Brock Commons is a composite building, with a significant amount of reinforced concrete. …Without concrete, the building would not be able to support itself.  …A new study by the International Institute for Sustainable Development finds that up to 72% of carbon emissions from wood may not be accounted for in current Life-Cycle Assessments. When these emissions are considered, concrete’s embodied carbon footprint could be up to 6% less intensive than that of wood products.

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Forestry

North Cowichan plans to have engagement facilitator for forest reserve in place by October

By Robert Barron
The Cowichan Valley Citizen
September 4, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

North Cowichan hopes to have its new community engagement facilitator, who will play a major part in efforts to create a long-anticipated management plan for its municipal forest reserve, in place by late October. A request for proposals for the position is expected to be posted in early September and close in early October, council decided at its meeting on Aug. 21. …In February, council endorsed just the completion of existing 2018 forestry contracts and harvesting of blow downs from last December’s windstorm in the forest reserve in 2019 until experts are tapped for their input and the public has been thoroughly consulted on what people want for the future of the public properties. Council also agreed in principle in July to a proposal from the University of B.C., the Coastal Douglas Fir Partnership and 3GreenTreeConsulting to assist in developing the forest management plan.

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‘It’s open season on the forest up here;’ Northern Sask. residents concerned about forestry

By Andrea Ledding
The Saskatoon StarPhoenix
September 5, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

DORE LAKE, SASKATCHEWAN — As Jon Fonos drove the familiar road home to Dore Lake, his two teenaged kids cried when they saw how much forest was gone. “They are literally clear-cutting everything,” Fonos said. …Fonos is among the northern Saskatchewan residents raising concerns about the way forestry companies are operating in their part of the province. “It’s open season on the forest up here and we’re going to absolutely destroy our boreal forest in Northern Saskatchewan if we don’t change,” he said. …Sakâw Askiy Management Inc. — which manages the forest on behalf of seven forest companies — was assigned to the Prince Albert Forest Management Agreement (FMA) area in 2010. …According to an email from the Ministry of Environment, tree harvesting fluctuates from year to year, but the company is never permitted to exceed the sustainable harvest over any five-year period.

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Forest spraying violates treaty: Elders

By Helen Morley
The Timmins Daily Press
September 5, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Art Pethategoose

Some 21 First Nations along the North Shore of Lake Huron are preparing to take the federal government to court over aerial spraying they say is harming the environment and human health. However, the Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) Elders of Robinson-Huron Treaty territory say the spraying is only part of a larger issue: that First Nations are not being consulted about activities taking place on their land. The elders say this violates the Robinson-Huron Treaty of 1850. …The TEK elders are now charging that the federal government has broken that agreement and that aerial spraying of Roundup, a glyphosate-based herbicide, illustrates the problem. …The elders are angry the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has decided to grant forestry companies the right to spray clear-cut areas of northeastern Ontario without clearing it with First Nations.

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Lawsuit seeks to stop northern Idaho forest logging project

By Keith Ridler
Associated Press in the Idaho Statesman
September 4, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A conservation group is suing the U.S. Forest Service to stop a joint state and federal forest restoration project in northern Idaho the group says is clearcutting in one of the largest remaining old-growth cedar, hemlock and grand fir forests in the U.S. West. The Alliance for the Wild Rockies filed the lawsuit last week in U.S. District Court to stop the 3.6-square-mile (9-square-kilometer) project about 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of the town of Priest River. The project in the Idaho Panhandle National Forest is a collaborative effort between the U.S. Forest Service and Idaho under a program called the Good Neighbor Authority. “Clearcutting is not forest restoration,” said Mike Garrity, executive director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies. “This area also has the largest concentration of ancient cedar stands in northern Idaho.”

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A logging exemption makes sense in Alaska

Letter by Frank Murkowski, governor of Alaska 2002-2006
The Washington Post
September 4, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Frank Murkowski

It is hardly surprising or news that Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) and Alaska’s congressional delegation asked President Trump to restore the 2003 exemption for the Tongass National Forest from the “roadless rule.” Every Alaska governor since 2001 has litigated its application to the Tongass, and every congressional delegation member has asked for a total Tongass exemption. …Exemption of the Tongass from the 2001 roadless rule has been Agriculture Department policy since 2003 and remains so today. “The Department has concluded that the social and economic hardships to Southeast Alaska outweigh the potential long-term ecological benefits because the Tongass Forest Plan adequately provides for the ecological sustainability of the Tongass.” …This policy determination has not been changed by the USDA. So, the president was right to tell Mr. Perdue to either implement that policy or explain why he is changing it.

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Sustainability and future forests at the World Scout Jamboree

By The Sustainable Forestry Initiative
Treehugger
September 4, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and Project Learning Tree (PLT) joined Scouts from more than 150 countries at the 24th World Scout Jamboree last month. PLT is an environmental education initiative of SFI and focuses on taking students outdoors to learn and connecting youth to nature. The Jamboree takes place every four years in a different country. This year, the event was held at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia, which is comprised of land that is certified to the SFI Forest Management Standard. The SFI/PLT exhibit was located beneath the Sustainability Tree House and included interactive activities that explored forest health including Forest Signs, where Scouts posted selfies next to SFI posters; a Green Jobs Quiz; and a Tree Cookies Activity.

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Grants to help conserve pine forests, coastal habitats for rare species

Alabama News Center
September 4, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

From helping preserve and enhance the state’s longleaf pine forests and coastal habitat, to supporting protection of rare species such as the red-cockaded woodpecker, Alabama will benefit from multiple grants just announced by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). Alabama Power and its parent Southern Company are among the supporters of NFWF. NFWF awarded more than $6.3 million in grants to restore, enhance and protect longleaf pine forests in nine states. The 24 grants will support conservation work in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. Together, the grants are expected to establish nearly 11,000 acres of longleaf pine forest and improve more than 305,000 additional acres across the longleaf pine’s historic range. The grants also will support the recovery of several rare species, including the red-cockaded woodpecker in Alabama and the reticulated flatwoods salamander in Florida.

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Texas A&M scientists begin southern pine beetle genome sequencing

By Kay Ledbetter
The Panola Watchman
September 4, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Texas A&M AgriLife Research is leading research to stop the southern pine beetle in its tracks, or at least be able to predict what is causing outbreaks of the tree-killer outside of its historical range. The southern pine beetle routinely destroys pine forests [and is] responsible for more than $1.5 billion in losses. Research scientist Dr. Claudio Casola said this species has been moving north because of climate change. Casola has received funding from The Eppley Foundation for Research to sequence the genome of the southern pine beetle. …“Eventually this work will help in designing tools to improve monitoring of the beetles, predicting outbreaks and more importantly, controlling population bursts typical of outbreaks,” he said. …The study will investigate for the first time the genomic basis of bark beetle infestation behavior, he said. It will also introduce advanced whole-genome sequencing approaches never applied in the southern pine beetle.

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New lease of life for forestry college

By Annette Chrysostomou
Cyprus Mail
September 4, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The forestry college in Prodromos will be reopened and upgraded to a higher education institute, the Council of Ministers decided on Wednesday. The reopening is expected to contribute to the proper staffing and functioning of the forestry department, in particular with forest fire protection, a statement released after the cabinet session said. …It was decided to submit two programmes to the Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education. The first, a one-year programme, will be mandatory for all new employees at the forestry department. The aim is to meet the staffing needs of the department with staff trained in the specific characteristics of the Cypriot forest ecosystem. …The forestry department is going to issue an invitation to all higher education institutions to cooperate with the college, with the possibility of joint curricula and specialised training programmes.

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Protecting indigenous rights will safeguard future of Amazon forest, advise Colombian tribal leaders

By Anastasia Moloney
Reuters
September 4, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

…“We’ve been protecting the Amazon for millennia,” said Julio Bombaire, one of six indigenous leaders from different Colombian Amazon tribes taking part in the ceremony. “Our creators taught us how to take care of our land and live in harmony,” he said. It is an age-old custom which indigenous leaders urged the presidents of Colombia, Peru and Ecuador – scheduled to meet in the border town of Leticia on Friday to discuss forest fires raging in the Brazilian Amazon – to heed and respect. The political leaders are expected to explore how best to join forces to preserve the Amazon. The world’s largest rainforest is under growing threat from deforestation and fires, which could hamper the global fight to curb climate change. …Indigenous leaders in Colombia told the Thomson Reuters Foundation their voice and participation would be crucial for any regional pact to work.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Environmental activist Tzeporah Berman receives $2M climate award

Canadian Press in the Prince George Citizen
September 4, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER — A well-known environmental campaigner from British Columbia has received a (US)$2 million award from a global organization that supports projects aimed at curbing climate change. The Climate Breakthrough Project says Tzeporah Berman is the 2019 recipient of its annual award. Berman co-founded Stand.earth, the organization behind numerous environmental campaigns, including those targeting expansion of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline, pollution caused by Carnival cruise ships and Proctor & Gamble for making toilet paper from intact forests. A statement from the Climate Breakthrough Project calls Berman “bold and visionary,” someone who remains committed to real-world results and to negotiating lasting victories.

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Health & Safety

Nakusp mayor says logging truck fire shows need to review rules

By John Boivin
The Castlegar News
September 4, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

The mayor of Nakusp is calling for better co-operation between government departments after a logging truck caught fire on the highway north of the village on Aug. 22, sparking a forest fire that burned for days. Tom Zeleznik says the fire got progressively worse while several groups of responders figured out who could tackle it. “It’s very frustrating,” he says. “Here you have local resources able to tackle a fire like this, they have the training, but because of jurisdiction and liability, they can’t. Their hands are tied.” …“The fellow did everything correctly,” says Zeleznik. “He found a safe place to park, where people could get by him, he then called for help.” The logging company contacted 911 and reported the problem.

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Tree at logging site falls in ‘unintended direction,’ kills driver on nearby road

KVAL 13 Oregon
September 4, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States, US West

EUGENE, Ore. – A tree at a logging site “fell in an unintended direction” Tuesday and hit a truck on a nearby road, killing the driver. …The Lane County Sheriff’s Office says the “initial investigation indicates that loggers were working in the area and a tree fell in an unintended direction and struck a 2011 Dodge 2500 truck that was traveling westbound on Hamm Road.” The driver – 59-year-old Michael Coop of Creswell – died at the scene, the sheriff’s office said.

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Forest Fires

Dangerous fire weather prompts red flag alert

By Mike Kordenbrock
The Billings Gazette
September 5, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

A red flag warning will go into effect at noon today for dangerous fire weather conditions in south-central Montana and north-central Wyoming, according to the National Weather Service in Billings. Glasgow, Great Falls and Missoula also have red flag warnings scheduled to begin at noon for portions of those areas. 
Billings is included in a red flag warning area where high temperatures of between 95 and 100 are expected to combine with low humidity and gusting winds. The record high for Sept. 4 in Billings is 100 degrees and was set in the 1950, according to NWS Billings meteorologist Brian Tesar. “It’s nearly 20 degrees above normal,” Tesar said. 

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