USGBC extends deadline for comment on LEED standards

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The U.S. Green Building Council has extended the deadline for public comment for its new draft LEED standards from March 20 to March 27. This gives supporters of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) another week to let the Green Building Council know why it should open up its LEED standards to other forest certifications besides the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). … Read More

Biomass supply and demand surges in Wash.

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This has been a good month for biomass in Washington. Peter Goldmark, the State Commissioner of Public Lands, jut released a report showing that 3 million tons of woody biomass, double the amount that’s currently extracted, can be removed from the state’s forests without hurting forest health. Standing next to Goldmark at the video conference was Bill Hermann, owner of … Read More

SFI pushes back against LEED standard

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The debate between the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) (which we last wrote about here) has been pretty lopsided lately. Everyone from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the state of Maine has made decisions recently that benefit SFI. But this month is a reminder that after years of effort, wood from SFI-certified forests is … Read More

Spotted owl habitat plan invites mixed reaction

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After announcing the new spotted owl plan last summer (which we wrote about it here and here), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service just released the preliminary habitat designation for the plan. Like last summer, the focus of much of the media attention has been on the fact that as part of the plan, the federal government will shoot and … Read More

Timber industry: BLM pilot project is a failure

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While the Bureau of Land Management pilot projects in Southern Oregon have shown promise for bridging the gap between environmental groups and the timber industry, not everyone is excited about the projects’ potential. In fact, while Interior Secretary Ken Salazar was in Medford this week to tour the “Pilot Joe” project site, the Oregon timber industry issued a statement (PDF) … Read More

BLM pilot projects show the promise of collaboration

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Good news out of Southern Oregon: three pilot Bureau of Land Management forestry projects led by retired professors are showing promising results so far. The projects in the Medford, Roseburg and Coos Bay forest districts, which we last wrote about here, “indicate it’s possible to retain old trees, protect watersheds and wildlife and still provide jobs,” said Jerry Franklin, a … Read More

Environmental groups swing and miss on timber payments

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It’s been months now since local and federal leaders started trying to figure out a solution for timber-dependent counties in the West that are facing the loss of federal timber payments. In the meantime, the affected counties in Washington, Oregon, California and Idaho are already feeling the pinch. In Lane County, Ore., the sheriff’s office is preparing to close half … Read More

More thinning on the way in federal forests

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Just days after announcing new management rules for federal forests, the U.S. Forest Service said it was undergoing an ambitious series of 20 forest management and thinning projects around the country. The two Washington projects are in the Colville National Forest and the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. What’s notable, according to KPLU Radio, is that the Forest Service is devoting millions … Read More

New forest laws debated on federal, state level

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The U.S. Forest Service just unveiled new management rules for federal forestland that its says will allow for faster approval of forest plans and preserve jobs in timber communities. The Forest Service also hopes that the rules – with their focus on multiple uses for the forests and cooperation between various interest groups – will hold up to lawsuits. Vilsack, … Read More

Biomass surges in Washington

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It’s been a good week for biomass in Washington. Biomass plants in Port Angeles and Longview received positive news, and a state lawmaker introduced a bill that would ensure the financial stability of biomass plants in the future. The good news began when a plant in Port Angeles planned by Nippon Paper Industries USA won an appeal to the state … Read More