Reeling from a preventable forest fire

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The Wallow Fire in eastern Arizona has now burned through 639 square miles of forest — adding 114 square miles just in the last day and is now headed across the state line to New Mexico. It’s the second-worst fire in Arizona state history. More disturbing: the massive fire may not have been nearly so large if the state’s forests … Read More

Restoring the legacy of our forests

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Mike Dubrasich, an Oregon forester and head of the Western Institute for Study of the Environment, gave a speech recently about federal forest policy and posted the text of the speech online. Dubrasich’s arguments resonate not just in Oregon but across the West. He says that federal officials have drastically underharvested federal forestland in Oregon, and that this has led … Read More

Soaring through the air on biomass

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The state of Massachusetts, in essentially ending any biomass industry in the state, has the unfortunate distinction of being the only government to ban a valuable source of renewable energy just when our country needs it the most. And to make things worse, the state’s decision was based on phony information. Bob Cleaves, the head of the Biomass Power Association, … Read More

Working together for a shared future

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Coos County on the Oregon Coast has a long history in the timber business. Back in the early 1900s, it was particularly dangerous and hard to live as a lumberman, as this recent story from the Coos Bay World points out. Nowadays the toughest challenge for Coos County is how to keep its economy going while the timber industry changes. … Read More

Biomass succeeds in D.C. and Northwest

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The announcement in January that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was putting off a decision on biomass plant emissions for three years was great news for the biomass industry, but the debate will surely rage on. The EPA says it will finalize the three-year deferral on July 1 and it’s taking public comments on the decision in the meantime. The … Read More

Cutting for China

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The Coos Bay World just published a great look at what the increased demand from China for timber means in a local timber community. Loggers in the Oregon coastal town are coming out of retirement and scores of longshoremen are arriving to help load the ships. Coos County has a pretty good customer in China at the moment. The country’s … Read More

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