More comments on spotted owl plan, but is it enough?

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After months of delay, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last week made a big move on the new spotted owl recovery plan, but it’s a move that few people expected. It was just two months ago that the feds planned to release a final plan, without any further chance for public comment or changes. No one, from timber companies … Read More

Making Wash. state government better

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We wrote earlier this month about a misguided campaign in Washington to raise forest practice fees on timber companies. State Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark and environmental groups are trying to convince legislators to pour millions of dollars in increased fees into the state’s already bloated forest practices program. In a year when our Legislature faces a $5 billion deficit, and … Read More

Banking on biomass and “Wood First”

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U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack this week announced $30 million in federal biomass projects, just two weeks after he said the U.S. government would promote and research the use of wood as a green building material. The departments of Agriculture and Energy will devote $30 million to the Biomass Research and Development Initiative, which will pay for 5-10 projects over … Read More

Wash. timber permit program needs reform, not increased fees

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Peter Goldmark, Washington’s Commissioner of Public Lands, this week came out in favor of pouring millions of dollars in increased fees into the state’s forest practices program, rather than reforming a program that keeps expanding despite a declining demand for its services. In a Washington state legislative session that demands innovative solutions and government reform, Goldmark is ignoring the problems … Read More

Timber groups praise USDA decision on wood

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It’s long been known that wood is one of the greenest building materials in the world, and that wood was green before “green building” was even a buzzword. Now the U.S. government officially agrees. This week U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the federal government will promote and research the use of wood as a green building material, and … Read More

Seattle Times strikes out on biomass

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The Seattle Times dropped the ball in its front-page story this week on the biomass industry. As the story points out, Washington is one of the country’s leading producers of biomass power, with a dozen plants operating and four more in the works. So taking a look at the state of the industry is a legitimate news story. Unfortunately, the … Read More

The dark side of green policy

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While it is very popular nowadays for everything to be green and environmentally sustainable, as it should be, the federal policies pursued for the sake of a so-called “green” standard can have negative consequences. Niger Innis, the spokesman for the Congress on Racial Equality, delves into these questions this week in a three-part series, “Green Injustice,” in the Washington Examiner. … Read More

Newspaper series on forestry goes off track

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The East Oregonian Co., which owns seven small newspapers in the Northwest, started a series of articles this week called “Fate of Our Forest.” The stories examine the changing face of the timber industry in Oregon and Washington, and we appreciate the coverage. Unfortunately, the newspaper company has already had its share of inaccuracies and distortions in the series. Here … Read More

Old hands contribute to timber industry’s future

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Jerry Franklin, a retired professor of ecosystem science at University of Washington, and Norm Johnson, a retired professor of forestry resources at Oregon State University, are veterans of the timber wars of the last few decades. They even helped write the Northwest Forest Plan, which is still in effect today. And now, in Roseburg and Medford, Ore., Franklin and Johnson … Read More

New spotted owl plan is rushed and off-target, forestry groups say

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Forestry groups representing timber companies across the territory of the spotted owl recently sent a joint letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service saying that the new owl recovery plan is coming out too soon and without the best science to back it up. The new plan is expected to be released any day now, and the federal government … Read More