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Today's Takeaway

Paul Quinn’s muses on a Canfor, West Fraser Merger

Categories: Today's Takeaway
May 17, 2017

Recent activity at West Fraser, highlighting Jim Pattison's forest sector holdings, “brings up the idea of Canfor and West Fraser coming together”, says RBC’s Paul Quinn in a research note to clients (Vancouver Sun). Although there is no suggestion that a merger is even being considered, Quinn notes Pattison “obviously likes the sector and has a history in forest companies that merge". Although a merger—which would create the world’s largest lumber company—“would make some sense” says Quinn, given reduced timber harvests in BC, analyst Kevin Mason (of ERA) says it would “likely be a non-starter for government due to trade and concentration of ownership hurdles".

Greenpeace claims victory over Resolute in decision by a Georgian Court transferring their lawsuit to California. Greenpeace wants the case heard where “most of the defendants live and work”, while Resolute prefers Georgia, “where its US operations are”. Although Greenpeace claims the decision supports their view that Resolute’s actions “are characteristic of a SLAPP lawsuit”, their release (and a related story in Phys.org) reads more like the same-old, same-old to us.

Finally, FPAC welcomes the new transportation legislation tabled by government. CEO Derek Nighbor says “transportation costs represent about 1/3 of total costs for the average forest products company”. FPAC looks forward to working with government to maximize opportunities with this legislation.


-- Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Forestry

Entrance to town sees growth

By Karly Blats

Categories: Forestry
Region: Canada; Canada West
May 16, 2017
Albernie Valley News

Close to 1,000 sequoia and Douglas fir trees are being planted behind Coombs Country Candy in order to beautify the entrance to Port Alberni along Highway 4. The planting is a joint initiative between the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District and City of Port Alberni; Island Timberlands donated the immature trees. “It’s all part of beautification,” Port Alberni Mayor Mike Ruttan said. ... “The forest companies have finished their planting so that’s why they’ve given us their extra trees,” Ruttan said. “These are special trees, these firs have come from southern Oregon. They’re engineered to be able to handle a drier climate.” ...Students from Ryan Dvorak’s forestry class at ADSS did most of the planting, Ruttan said; all the trees were slated to be in the ground by the end of last week and each will be protected with a stake and a cage.

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Comment: Forester pays high price for doing honest job

By Anthony Britneff, retired registered professional forester

Categories: Forestry
Region: Canada; Canada West
May 16, 2017
Victoria Times Colonist

The implications of not accounting accurately and conservatively for estimations of timber directly affect more than 140 forest-dependent communities and the forest industry, both of whom rely on B.C.’s chief forester to set sustainable rates of logging on Crown land. In a case that has some eerie parallels with the wrongful firings of health-care professionals a few years ago, Martin Watts, a professional forester and once frequently used and respected consultant, is finding out just how high a price people sometimes pay for doing their jobs well with professional integrity. ... As a former civil servant who served 40 years for the forests ministry in several senior positions, I believe the challenges that Watts bravely raised at considerable personal cost are issues that each and every one of us should pay heed to, because nothing less than the sound management of our publicly owned forests is at stake.

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Washington family honored as Tree Farmer of the Year

Categories: Forestry
Region: United States; US West
May 15, 2017
Capital Press

Owners of a 100-acre family tree farm near Olalla in Western Washington have received 2017 Tree Farmer of the Year honors from the Washington State Tree Farm Program. The Kingsbury family was recognized for its stewardship of the Five Springs Tree Farm, which was certified 50 years ago by the American Tree Farm System to promote wildlife habitat, recreation and timber harvests. “The Kingsbury family is the ideal family to represent Washington state as the Tree Farmer of the Year, with their active management and family involvement while protecting resources and being engaged with their neighbors,” said Ryan Sandstrom, coordinator of the Tree Farmer of the Year nomination committee. The family received the award at the annual Washington Farm Forestry Association meeting May 5 in Bothell. John Kingsbury and two sons, Daniel and Doug, accepted the award.

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Healthy forests grow opportunity for Alaska

By Beth Pendleto, regional forester for the U.S. Forest Service-Alaska Region.

Categories: Forestry
Region: United States; US West
May 15, 2017
The Juneau Empire

...Abundant, clean water is an essential resource in Alaska. While our state makes up about 17 percent of the land mass of the United States, it accounts for one-third of the U.S fresh water supply; much of it located in Southeast and Southcentral where the coastal mountains receive abundant amounts of rainfall. Healthy children grow here. National forests were originally created to protect valuable watersheds. In the U.S., there are 155 national forests comprising almost 190 million acres of land. Alaska has 12 percent of the nation’s national forests, with the largest national forest, the Tongass, covering over 17 million acres, and the second largest, the Chugach, covering over 5 million acres. ...Although there can often be competing interests on any forest, one common thing all resource users require to succeed is a healthy forest with healthy watersheds.

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City’s Lake Tahuyeh clearcut ‘ugly’ but within the law

By Josh Farley

Categories: Forestry
Region: United States; US West
May 15, 2017
Kitsap Sun

LAKE TAHUYEH — It wasn't the timber removed in a city logging operation along Kingsway Northwest that bothered Ron Kraus. It was the wood left behind. Piles of trees and stumps have greeted motorists on Kingsway since last summer, when the city of Bremerton's public works department logged about 23 acres on both sides of the roadway near its intersection with Lake Tahuyeh Road. What remains is "a mess for people who live here to drive through," said Kraus, a real estate agent who lives northwest of Belfair. The city owns thousands of acres west of Bremerton. City officials say the logging of the Kingsway property was conducted within legal forestry practices under state law and that it was encouraged to abandon some logs for future habitat. "You want to leave something behind for wildlife," said Bremerton Public Works forestry manager Pat Coxon. ...“Logging is ugly and it takes awhile for things to grow back," she said. "But that’s not against the law."

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Legislators push for Secure Rural Schools, increased timber harvests

By Cody Mann

Categories: Forestry
Region: United States; US West; International
May 17, 2017
The St. Helens Chronicle

During a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on May 2, Sen. Ron Wyden (D) stressed a need in rural counties for restored federal funding for county services and sustainably increased timber harvests to keep the essential services that Secure Rural Schools (SRS) has funded since Congress first authorized the program in 2000. A statement from Wyden’s office said payments through the SRS and the County Self-Determination Act are used to fund schools, roads and law enforcement in more than 700 counties nationwide. The payments expired last year. ...According to Wyden’s office, during the May 2 hearing, Forest Service Associate Deputy Chief Glenn Casamassa emphasized a previously-held conclusion that increasing the harvest enough to make up for the lost funding through SRS payments was unrealistic, citing earlier estimates from Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell that logging on public lands would need to increase by 600 percent in order for timber revenues to match what counties received in SRS payments.

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Wet Spring Forces Temporary Shutdown At Washington Sawmill

By Emily Schwing

Categories: Forestry
Region: United States; US West
May 16, 2017
KUOW News

The wettest spring on record in eastern Washington state not only rendered state highways and other roads impassable, it has also kept loggers from harvesting timber and shuttered one sawmill for at least two weeks. Last December, the crane at Vaagen Brother’s sawmill in Colville, Washington, was busily moving back and forth, grabbing logs with an enormous claw from high stacks - called the deck. 


But this week, that crane is not running and the deck is gone. 

“We did not expect to run short of logs,” said Josh Anderson, who has worked at Vaagen Brothers as the Timber Resource Manager for 18 years. 

...Crews at Vaagen Brothers will use the next two weeks of downtime for annual maintenance. 

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Ash trees at risk of extinction thanks to Emerald Ash Borer Beetle

By Mike Hanson

Categories: Forestry
Region: United States; US East
May 16, 2017
WCNC

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It is a race against time. Tree experts say the Emerald Ash Borer Beetle is at Charlotte's doorstep and residents need to take action now. The pests have already killed roughly 50 million ash trees throughout the Midwest. Heartwood Tree Service injected several Ash trees in the Sardis Woods neighborhood Tuesday. The project was sponsored by Trees Charlotte. Using pumps and needles, the pesticide was moved into the veins of a handful of trees. "In the next five to 10 years, we will not have Ash trees anymore," said Stephen Clough, with Heartwood Tree Service. "Once we inject it the root area of the tree, it uses the vascular system to move the product throughout the canopy." The chemical will kill insects as they feed on the soft underside of the bark.

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Moves to save Leadbeater's possum will put timber jobs at risk, Victorian government told

Categories: Forestry
Region: International
May 17, 2017
The Age

The Andrews government has been told it must choose between saving Victoria's endangered emblem the Leadbeater's possum or hundreds of timber industry jobs. The government's forest taskforce has been told the only way to save the Leadbeater's Possum, is to stop logging in the Central Highlands. The highlands are home to the vast majority of the state's 1500-3000 Leadbeater's possums. The forests include areas designated for paper pulp and timber production and the industry estimates that more than 2100 jobs rely directly on logging in the area. A confidential report to Labor's Forest Industry Taskforce on threatened species, obtained by Fairfax Media, recommends the best way to protect the possum is to cease timber harvesting in ash forests in the highlands.The possum population has been in rapid decline over the last decade due to the loss of critical habitat through logging, the Black Saturday fires and natural loss of older trees.

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Central American forests decimated by cocaine traffickers, Oregon State University research finds

By Kale Williams

Categories: Forestry
Region: International
May 16, 2017
The Oregonian

The American addiction to cocaine may be claiming a previously unseen victim: tropical forests in Central America. But the loss of these forests, home to some of the world's highest degrees of biological diversity, isn't due to cultivating the coca plant, from which cocaine is derived. The "narco-deforestation," as it's being called by researchers at Oregon State University, stems from the fact that drug dealers are using remote forested lands to launder their profits from the drug trade. "It turns out that one of the best ways to launder illegal drug money is to fence off huge parcels of forest, cut down the trees, and build yourself a cattle ranch," David Wrathall, an Oregon State University geographer, said in a statement. "It is a major, unrecognized driver of tropical deforestation in Central America."

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Company & Business News

Georgia Court Agrees with Greenpeace, Transfers Logging Company's RICO Case to Northern California

By Greenpeace

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: Canada; United States
May 16, 2017
PR Newswire

WASHINGTON -- Today, the United States Court for the Southern District of Georgia issued a ruling transferring the Resolute v Greenpeace lawsuit to the Northern District of California, as Resolute failed to demonstrate that the case should be heard in Georgia. Filed by logging company Resolute Forest Products in May 2016, the CAD$ 300 million case is asking for independent environmental organizations Greenpeace International, U.S. Greenpeace entities and Stand.earth to be labeled a 'criminal enterprise' under anti-racketeering (RICO) laws originally created to prosecute the mafia. "This is a positive development for the case," said Greenpeace USA General Counsel Tom Wetterer. "

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Forest Sector Welcomes New Federal Rail Legislation

By Forest Products Association of Canada

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: Canada
May 16, 2017
Canada NewsWire

The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) welcomes the new transportation legislation tabled by Transport Minister Marc Garneau today. CEO Derek Nighbor says the government understands that a more competitive and efficient transportation system is critical for Canada's forestry dependant communities. The legislation tabled by Minister Garneau today would promote transparency, system efficiency, and strong private sector investment. ..."Transportation costs represent about one third of total costs for the average forest products company. When we presented our industry's recommendations in the fall, we emphasized the need for more reliable service and competitive rates in rail, marine and trucking," says Nighbor. "Most of our mills are in rural and northern communities and have few options on how to get products to market." "Our sector's relationships with our supply chain partners in rail, marine and trucking are very important to us. FPAC looks forward to working together to fully maximize the opportunities within this legislation" says Nighbor.

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Global Softwood Conference - Another successful event

By Russ Taylor

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: Canada; Canada West
May 17, 2017
International Wood Markets

Another successful event, the 7th Annual Global Softwood Log & Lumber Conference at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Vancouver BC had 260 delegates from 13 countries focussing on the impact of the countervailing duty rate (CVD) on Canadian lumber exports to the U.S. and the expected impacts of these export duties on global lumber trade and prices. Coupled with these questions were assessments of how or where the U.S. will get all of its lumber requirements, at what price, and how offshore exporters fit in. Similarly, what will Asia look like as Russians and Canadians ramp up export volumes and where will other log and lumber exporters fit in? If you missed the event, you can purchase the speaker presentations - the next best thing to being there!

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Catalyst Paper re-launches Rumford Offset

By Catalyst Paper

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: Canada; Canada West
May 16, 2017
What They Think

Richmond, BC — Catalyst Paper is proud to announce the new and improved Rumford Offset, an uncoated freesheet paper produced at its Rumford mill in Maine, USA.  “Catalyst’s Rumford Offset is an effective choice in an uncoated freesheet paper and represents a competitive alternative to other uncoated freesheet paper in the marketplace,” says Matt Stapleton, Vice President, Printing & Writing and Publication Papers. “Inventory of Rumford Offset will be available immediately at our Tighe warehouse location. Customers can now benefit by being able to build truckloads of both coated and uncoated products. This has the potential to help them maintain lower total inventory.”

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Update on Saturday's fire at West Fraser sawmill in Williams Lake

By Pat Matthews

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: Canada; Canada West
May 16, 2017
My Cariboo Now

We now have more information regarding the fire that occured this past saturday morning at West Fraser Sawmill off Soda Creek Road in Williams Lake. Williams Lake Fire Chief Des Webster. “Upon arrival there was heavy smoke coming from one building on the property. When crews arrived it took them quite awhile to actually get to the seed of the fire and that’s why were there for about three hours. The conditions inside the building were very poor as far as visibility because of the thickness of the smoke”.

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Customers are key in softwood lumber dispute: Doer

By Emma Graney

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: Canada; Canada West
May 16, 2017
Edmonton Journal

Pressure from big-name U.S. wood retailers will be Alberta’s key ally in resolving the softwood lumber dispute, says the man hired to plead the province’s case. Former U.S. ambassador Gary Doer was in Edmonton Tuesday to meet with government officials. Canada is on the side of justice when it comes to lumber legal rulings, Doer said, and he’s confident we will win once again. The problem, he said, is that a positive outcome will take too long for the 19,000 Albertans who work in the industry. “We would prefer to get a more sensible decision from our American decision-makers based on customer views, not just based on the narrow interests of the lumber lobby in the United States,” Doer said Tuesday.

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Pattison's increased lumber portfolio prompts speculation of Canfor, West Fraser Timber merger

By Derrick Penner

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: Canada; Canada West
May 16, 2017
Vancouver Sun

Recent activity at West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. has revealed that British Columbian billionaire Jim Pattison owns a significant minority stake in the company, prompting speculations of a merger with rival Canfor Corp., according to an analyst. Pattison owns 10 per cent of West Fraser, North America’s No. 1 lumber producer, said Paul Quinn, a paper and forest-products industry analyst at RBC Capital Markets, and already owns a majority stake in Canfor, North America’s No. 2 lumber producer. “That automatically brings up the idea of Canfor and West Fraser coming together,” said Quinn. “It’s an interesting idea, but would be very difficult to accomplish.” 

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Canoe Forest Products investigates sinking of mill tug boat in Shuswap Lake

By Lachlan Labere

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: Canada; Canada West
May 16, 2017
Salmon Arm Observer

Canoe Forest Products is investigating what led to the sinking of one of its tug boats Monday afternoon off Ruckell Point in Shuswap Lake. The mill’s general manager, Marcello Angelozzi, confirmed Tuesday, May 16, that one of the mill’s diesel-fueled tugs had sunk the day prior in the Cape Horn area (north of Ruckell Point) where the company has a booming ground. He said there were no injuries involved, and the company has boomed off the area where the boat went down to contain any possible leakage of fuel. “We have some environmental groups that are involved in remediation and we’ve contained the area around the boat,” said Angelozzi, adding the boat is about 90 feet below the surface. “We’ve boomed that area and contained most of it, and any diesel that’s escaped that area, we have a boat out there trying to remediate that volume.”

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Doer says Alberta targets U.S. wood buyers to tip balance in softwood dispute

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: Canada; Canada West
May 16, 2017
Canadian Press in CTV News

EDMONTON – Gary Doer, the former Canadian ambassador to the U.S., says one key to resolving the softwood lumber dispute is to enlist the help and support of wood buyers south of the border. “We’ve got to get the Home Depots, the other companies that want good wood from Canada that is affordable and attainable,” Doer told reporters at the Alberta legislature Tuesday after meeting with Alberta Agriculture Minister Oneil Carlier. He said Canada has a strong legal case, but he said it’s also about influence. “To put pressure on the decision makers you’ve got to get to the constituents. And the constituents are the customers,” he said.

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Resolute Forest says US tariffs behind move to lay off workers

By John Benny

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: Canada; Canada East
May 16, 2017
Reuters Canada

Canadian lumber company Resolute Forest Products Inc RFP.N said its move to temporarily lay off 1,282 employees was related to the United States' decision last month to impose preliminary anti-subsidy duties on imports of Canadian softwood lumber. The company said, starting Monday, it would cut shifts at three sawmills in Quebec for a six-week period, and also halt some activities at another sawmill in Quebec for two weeks, among other actions. "Real people are now being impacted by the baseless actions of the U.S. Department of Commerce. They not only hurt Canadians, as demonstrated clearly with these actions, but American Consumers are also hit hard by market volatility," Resolute Forest's spokesman Seth Kursman told Reuters on Monday.

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Greenpeace says Canadian forestry lawsuit aims to silence critics

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: Canada; Canada East
May 17, 2017
Phys.org

Greenpeace on Tuesday urged major publishing houses to not buy paper from a major Canadian forestry company that is suing the activist group. The multimillion dollar lawsuit that Resolute Forest Products filed against Greenpeace last year is "aimed at muzzling civil society" and "intimidating critics," the environmental group said. Greenpeace urged publishers such as Hachette, Penguin Random House, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster to refrain from buying paper for their books from the forestry giant in order to show "support for defenders of freedom of expression throughout the world." Resolute is seeking Can$300 million (US$220 million) in damages from Greenpeace for alleged defamation, intimidation of customers, and related harms. Greenpeace warned that a Resolute victory would "create a dangerous precedent" that could "encourage other companies around the world to use similar tactics against their detractors."

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Quebec mayors make case for 'win-win agreement' in softwood lumber dispute

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: Canada; Canada East
May 16, 2017
CBC News

A group of Quebec mayors made its case in Washington, D.C. today for a quick end to the dispute over softwood lumber, which has hurt the industry in the province. Communities across the province depend on the industry, said Drummondville Mayor Alexandre Cusson, who led a trade mission to the U.S. capital. "We're looking for a win-win agreement, as quickly as possible," he said at a news conference Tuesday. . ...Cusson and other representatives from the Union of Quebec Municipalities met with both allies and opponents in the dispute, including members of the U.S. Lumber Coalition, a lobby group representing American sawmills.

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Markets for Douglas fir and whitewood sawlogs improve, says Pope Resources

By Bill Esler

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: United States; US West
May 16, 2017
Woodworking Network

OULSBO, Wash. - Overall average log price realizations improved slightly compared to the previous quarter, with lower-valued species mix masking improvements in the markets for Douglas-fir and whitewood sawlogs, according to Pope Resources, a leader in the timber industry. Pope Resources reported net income of $3.4 million, on revenue of $17.3 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2017. This compares to net loss attributable to unitholders of $1 million on revenue of $11.1 million for the first quarter of 2016. "Our overall average log price realizations improved slightly compared to the previous quarter, with lower-valued species mix masking improvements in the markets for Douglas-fir and whitewood sawlogs," said Tom Ringo, Pope president and CEO.

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Collier Journalism Award Announced

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: United States; US East
May 17, 2017
Southern Forest Products Association

The memory of Southern Forest Products Association’s John Collier lives on. Phil McKenna is the recipient of the 2016 John M. Collier Award for Forest History Journalism, presented by the Forest History Society (FHS). Phil’s article “Life in the Death Zone” was co-published by NOVA Next and The Big Roundtable. In his letter of recognition to the author, FHS President Steven Anderson explained: “This award recognizes the author of the best article or series of articles published in newspapers, trade press publications, or general circulation magazines in forest and conservation history.” Phil receives a $1,000 prize and a plaque.

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UK timber product imports rise 18% in Jan-Feb

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: International
May 16, 2017
Timber Trades Journal

UK timber product import volumes increased by 18% in the first two months of 2017 compared to a year ago, according to the Timber Trade Federation’s (TTF) latest statistics bulletin. Solid wood imports were 16% higher in January-February and panel products were up 23%. The figures show hardwood imports up 52% to 100,000m3, but the bulletin urges caution as Finland and Norway are shown as having dramatic increases – the former’s market share of UK hardwood imports increasing from 1% to 9% and the latter’s going from zero to 8%. The bulletin suggests the distortion has resulted from the likely mis-reporting of hardwood volumes. Meanwhile, softwood import volumes grew 13.7% to 1.02 million m3, with all leading supplier countries exporting more volumes to the UK. Germany recorded the largest increase (+56%), followed by Latvia and Finland.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Despite Biomass Provisions in Omnibus, Biomass Woes Far From Over

Categories: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States
May 16, 2017
Energy Study Institute

Longtime biomass watchers will remember the Collins Amendment – which caused quite the stir last year, as it directed federal agencies to recognize biomass use as carbon neutral. Passed May 5, the omnibus funding bill contains the Collins Amendment, a biomass provision that was originally contained in the 2016 Energy Policy Modernization Act... In a bid to increase the domestic use of wood for energy and heat, several members of Congress have long been supportive of the language. But without a federal vehicle for biomass policy, and declining biomass use in the United States due mostly to low natural gas prices but also several warm winters and low home heating oil prices, it’s unclear what immediate effect the omnibus legislation will have in propping up a flagging industry.

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Maine lawmakers push question of biomass power incentives to next session

By Tux Turkel

Categories: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States; US East
May 16, 2017
Portland Press Herald

AUGUSTA — Efforts to help move the state’s biomass power industry onto a sustainable financial path are going to be put off until next year, lawmakers decided Tuesday, amid time concerns and proposals that are both complex and controversial. At the suggestion of the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Tom Saviello, R-Wilton, the Legislature’s Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee voted unanimously to carry over the measure until next session. Saviello presented recommendations based on the findings of a special study group created last year. They’re meant to improve the economics of the state’s struggling wood-fired power plants. But it was clear during a public hearing that although some of the ideas have support from the forest products industry, they will be opposed by Gov. Paul LePage and Central Maine Power Co. The core of the disagreement is a familiar one: Whether electric customers should help subsidize power generation that contributes to economic development but increases rates.

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Wood & Paper Products & Green Building

House Works: Building fine furniture with cheap lumber

By Steve Maxwell, DIY Expert

Categories: Wood & Paper Products & Green Building
Region: Canada; Canada East
May 16, 2017
Ottawa Citizen

I’m always surprised and pleased to see how some ordinary people still like to build furniture from wood just for the fun of it. With so many digital distractions in the world these days, I worry that hands-on creativity might die. The fact that it hasn’t is a good thing, but there’s something even better for us Canadians. We have access to great wood, and one overlooked option is even economically priced. The crazy thing is, not even experienced woodworkers always recognize this particular source of cheap fine furniture wood. ...So what are the facts? Framing lumber can be given an inviting, glass-smooth finish. It doesn’t twist or warp if it’s chosen well and worked properly. Framing lumber costs a fraction of what furniture-grade hardwoods sell for, too.

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