Biomass finds support in the NW

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While a biomass operation was recently announced in Port Townsend, Wash., a new poll shows that public support for biomass plants in Washington state is high. According to Moore Information, 57 percent of likely voters in Washington support the generation of power from biomass gathered from sustainably managed forests. The support goes all the way to 70 percent once voters … Read More

Timber: the original green industry

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It feels like all we hear about these days is green. Green business, green cars, green energy, green building. It’s the hot new thing, and also a very real part of our economic future, as the world responds to the threat of climate change. And yet, as a new Washington state report shows, the timber industry has been green for … Read More

Shattering misperceptions of biomass

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Biomass plants are being built across the country, as more and more people discover the environmental benefits of burning woody biomass for energy. But it’s also clear that the biomass industry must respond strongly to threats that have appeared on the national stage in recent weeks. First there is the state-sponsored Massachusetts study, which we wrote about here, here and … Read More

Wrangling over the future of Oregon timber

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As we wrote last week, the 20th anniversary of the spotted owl’s listing under the U.S. Endangered Species Act has brought up some interesting results. The Northwest timber industy has been decimated, and yet the spotted owl is actually in worse shape than it was 20 years ago. In a guest column this week in the Oregonian, Thomas Partin, president … Read More

California makes exciting progress

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We first wrote in May about a historic plan in California, developed with timber companies, environmental groups and government officials, that would give a boost to the state’s timber industry by allowing some thinning to protect from forest fires. The Sierra Nevada Forest and Community Initiative is even bigger than that. It would put parties normally at odds on the … Read More

Protecting the future of forests

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Comments on the latest draft of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED rating system are being taken until 5 p.m. Pacific time July 4th, so if you have time between now and then, please leave a comment here. As we’ve discussed before, the updates to the LEED rating system will have a profound impact on the timber industry’s future. If … Read More

What spotted owl?

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It was 20 years ago — June 26, 1990 — that the spotted owl was listed as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. The Oregonian has taken an in-depth look at what that decision has meant for the timber industry and the spotted owl itself. The results, especially for the industry, are not pretty, and environmental groups might have … Read More

Fight the FSC monopoly

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The debate over forest certification is one of the most important stories for today’s timber industry.  As we’ve followed closely the last few months, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is in the process of updating its widely accepted LEED green building standard. As it is now, LEED only accepts forest products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and … Read More

New York Times backtracks on biomass

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The biomass news just keeps coming. It’s been more than a week now since a fundamentally flawed study was released in Massachusetts, and in the days since, the study has been soundly refuted by the Biomass Power Association and the National Alliance of Forest Owners, and one of the report’s authors, the Pinchot Institute for Conservation, even backtracked from public … Read More

Biomass study cracking under pressure

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One of the authors of a fundamentally flawed biomass study released last week now says that the study’s conclusions were reported incorrectly in the press. Most media outlets reported that the Massachusetts study showed that biomass plants are worse for the environment, or “dirtier,” than coal, but actually that “couldn’t be farther from the truth,” said Al Sample, president of … Read More