Biomass industry faces excitement and uncertainty

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In 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency said it was putting off a decision on potential greenhouse-gas restrictions on biomass for three years. The delay was considered a big victory for biomass proponents and a loss for environmental groups. Since then, biomass projects have continued to be built. The largest biomass plant in North America, using wood pellets, just opened in … Read More

Scientists and experts are learning from the Oso landslide

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Six months after the Oso landslide, our state and community are still in the process of learning and healing. There are multiple groups taking a deeper look at the slide, everything from its causes and its impact to the emergency response and how development is approved near steep slopes. A 12-member commission of experts enlisted by Gov. Jay Inslee and … Read More

Forestry companies do their jobs with commitment and camaraderie

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Since 1975, TimberWest Magazine has been covering the West Coast timber industry one company at a time. It’s easy sometimes to focus on the larger issues concerning the forestry industry, but day-to-day, it’s forestry companies that are the lifeblood of the business. In recent months, TimberWest has profiled several Washington companies: Barnes and Sons Logging in Lewis County, Swanson Bark … Read More

Opposition increases against Sen. Wyden’s timber bill

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In May 2013, it seemed like Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) was the great hope for federal timber reform. He had just taken over as chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, putting him in prime position to finally get the Northwest timber harvest kickstarted after decades of meager activity. Wyden’s proposal, finally announced in November 2013, only covered … Read More

New beetle invader arrives in Washington forests

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Washington’s forests are in poor health, with trees diseased by pine beetles, spruce budworms and root rot. The situation got so bad that in 2012, State Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark declared a forest health-hazard warning for parts of Eastern Washington, a warning that is still in effect two years later. It’s no coincidence then that Washington is enduring one of … Read More

Skamania County needs timber reform in a special way

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The anger and frustration over the lack of federal forest management recently boiled over in Skamania County, Wash. It’s no wonder. As we noted in a post last year, 80 percent of Skamania County is taken up by the Gifford Pinchot National Forest; another 8 percent is owned by the state, and another 10 percent of the county is private … Read More

Private timber harvest is up, but federal harvest still lags behind

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If recent news coverage and town hall meetings are any indication, anger is growing in rural communities over the lack of timber activity in Northwest federal forests. U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., has actually done more than most federal lawmakers to try to reform federal forest management, but that didn’t stop him from getting an earful from constituents at a … Read More

Young loggers bring promise to the forestry industry

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If you’re looking for signs that the future of the forestry industry is in good hands, look no further than Billy Zimmerman. The 25-year-old from Rainier, Ore., just across the Columbia River from Washington, recently started his own logging company, according to a recent story in the Longview Daily News. It’s no secret that the forestry industry is aging, and … Read More

Frustration boils over as Congress stalls on timber and wildfire reform

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The wildfires raging across the West are spurring calls for congressional action to change the way that wildfires are funded, but they are also raising a lot of complaints about congressional inaction. When community leaders call on Congress to pass one of the bills that would free up more money to fight wildfires, they are also making their pleas with … Read More

Northwest wildfires spur call for improved forest management

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The wildfire season in the Northwest this summer is unprecedented. Eighteen large fires have burned 900,000 acres in Washington and Oregon, including the largest single wildfire in Washington state history. The Carlton Complex Fire has raged across north-central Washington since July 14, burning more than 250,000 acres and destroying 300 homes. The fire, burning for 11 days, is still only … Read More