Supporting family forests

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Safeguarding our economy, environmental stewardship efforts and quality of life are dependent on family-owned forestlands, according to an opinion piece published in The Hill. Thomas Straka, a professor of forestry and environmental conservation at Clemson University in South Carolina, asserted that while much attention these days is focused on wildfires, policymakers also should be mindful of the critical role privately-owned … Read More

Working forest industry grows trees, jobs

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Working forests play a vital role in supporting a healthy and diverse economy in our state, according to a 2017 study that looked at the contributions of Washington’s timber industry. Washington state is the nation’s second-largest lumber producer. Forestry represents Washington state’s third-largest manufacturing industry, providing jobs in all 39 counties and impacting a whole host of economic activities, including forestry, logging, … Read More

Wildfire season threats loom even with wet start to summer

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Wildfires remain a concern in Washington state in spite of rainy weather in recent days and less fire activity, say weather experts. The Seattle Times reports that even though July has been slightly wetter than normal, it’s not enough precipitation and moisture to impact the wildfire season overall. Said meteorologist Dana Felton: “It’s slowing things down, and we’ve seen a lot … Read More

Gov. Inslee increases culvert removal investments

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Removing culverts and improving salmon passageways must be prioritized, said Gov. Jay Inslee in a recent news release. Inslee announced that the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) would begin repairing or replacing state-owned highway culverts that impede on fish migration promptly. The directive, which is in response to a court order, increases culvert repairs to a total $275 million over … Read More

Future cities of innovation will require timber

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Cities of the future will rely on innovative products generated by the timber industry, according to Sidewalk Labs, a subsidiary of Google parent company Alphabet Inc. Sidewalks Labs unveiled Sidewalk Toronto – an ambitious plan that aims to transform a portion of the eastern waterfront (12 acres) within the major Canadian city into a global model for sustainable, inclusive and inventive … Read More

Wildfire season provides opportunities for collaboration, cooperation

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Wildfires have been synonymous with Eastern Washington summers for quite some time, said Rep. Tom Dent (R-Moses Lake) during a panel discussion last week at the Pacific Science Center (PacSci). “I can’t remember how long I’ve lived with smoke every summer,” Dent said. “It’s been probably about 30 years.” It was only a few years back that Washington residents thought of … Read More

Pacific Science Center summer exhibit focuses on wildfire, smoke

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Are smoky August skies the new normal? In addition to winter, spring, summer and fall, will the Pacific Northwest have a fifth season – a wildfire season? What are the causes behind the recent catastrophic blazes? These are questions the Pacific Science Center (PacSci) and its collaborative partners hope to answer with its newest exhibit: The Smoke Season – a … Read More

Legislature recognizes value of working lands in new tax policy

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One of the significant new tax policies coming out of this recent legislative session involves the real estate excise tax or REET.  This is a tax paid by the seller of all real property. The rate has historically been flat. Which is to say, one rate applied to all sales regardless of the sale value. The Legislature has changed that with … Read More

New Forest Health Policies Directly Support Wildfire Response

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The smoke that drifted into Western Washington last summer and obscured the Space Needle behind its cloak grabbed the attention of the metropolitan Puget Sound area. However, wildfires and forest health have been a high-profile legislative issue since the historic fire years in 2014 and 2015. This past session was no exception. A record-high amount of funding was provided to … Read More

Legislature Connects Dots Between Rural Economic Development, Environmental Outcomes

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The environmental headlines of this past legislative session have focused on two big topics: orca whales and carbon emissions. The 2019 Legislature passed numerous high-profile bills to address these two seemingly disparate issues. E3SHB 1324 progressed well below the radar yet manages to marry both issues in a package that also helps secure Washington’s most extensive rural manufacturing base for … Read More