Logging

snow, tree, weather
Jim Bauer / Flickr Creative Commons

The U.S. Forest Service's new supervisor for the 4-million-acre Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest in northern Idaho says the agency might offer more trees for sale.

Cheryl Probert says the Johnson Bar salvage and others projects related to the 9-square-mile fire last summer could increase timber harvest.

The Lewiston Tribune reports that Probert met on Monday with Clearwater County commissioners, who want more timber harvested.

Jeff Myers / Flickr

More than 75 scientists are appealing to President Barack Obama to create a policy for preserving old-growth forest.

The U.S. and Canadian scientists sent a letter to the president Wednesday urging the U.S. Forest Service to draw up plans to conserve ecosystems distinguished by old trees, accumulations of dead woody material and diversity of plant life. Most are found in the Pacific Northwest or Southeast Alaska.

Washington state Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark repeated Monday that "It's still too early to tell" if there is a connection between logging and this spring's deadly landslide near Oso, Washington.

Oregon U.S. Senator Ron Wyden says his latest proposal to increase logging on Oregon forest land will also respect environmental concerns. 

  Loggers are packing up and leaving timber sales uncut across the Northwest. It's another effect of the partial government shutdown. Timber companies say even if a deal is reached soon at the nation's capitol, the effects from the logging hiatus could be felt all the way into next spring.

Timber companies received letters from the Forest Service telling them to cease operations. That's because the employees who oversee and inspect timber sales were furloughed.

timber, logging, equipment
D-Stanley / Flickr Creative Commons

The U.S. Forest Service is shutting down timber sales on national forests across the country due to the partial shutdown of the federal government.

Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden said Friday he was informed of the move by Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell.

Forest Service spokesman Leo Kay confirmed the action in an email but said details were not immediately available.

It was not clear, for example, whether loggers could cut and haul off trees under contracts that have already been awarded, or whether the action affects just sales that have yet to be awarded.

Congress is back in session this week. The House will discuss two proposals that would increase logging in federal forests to raise money for struggling timber counties.

Washington Republican Doc Hastings chairs the House Natural Resource committee. Hastings says Northwest timber counties are running out of money. And it’s difficult for them to raise revenue given their depressed economies.

The Supreme Court today decided in favor of the timber industry in a case about the regulation of muddy waters that flow off logging roads.  In a surprising move, one of the court’s conservative justices dissented, and sided with the environmentalists.

Environmental groups in Oregon filed the case.

They argued that muddy water flowing from ditches into forest streams, harms fish, and should be considered industrial pollution.

In a 7-1 decision the Court said it would defer to the Environmental Protection Agency’s read of the law.

Logging Leftovers Could Keep Invasive Species Out

Mar 18, 2013
USDA

A new study from the research arm of the Forest Service suggests that leaving behind broken branches and the tips of treetops after logging can help fight invasive species.

Scientists suspected that fir boughs and other logging leftovers could act like gardener’s mulch and protect the soil.

Supreme Court: EPA Rule Could Make Logging Road Case Moot

Dec 4, 2012
Amelia Templeton

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Monday in a case from Oregon over water pollution from logging roads. But a last minute rule change may have made the case moot.

Attorneys involved in the case say that at 5 pm last Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a new rule trying to clarify that the runoff from logging roads should not be considered industrial pollution. 

Judge Halts Logging on Oregon State Forests

Nov 28, 2012
jpc.raleigh / Flickr

A federal judge has granted a preliminary injunction halting 11 timber sales in Oregon’s state forests. The state is being sued by three conservation groups who say the logging projects imperil a federally protected seabird.

US District Judge Ann Aiken granted the injunction Monday. It halts 11 timber sales in the Tillamook, Clatsop and Elliott State Forests that are home to the threatened Marbled Murrelet.

Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

Some jobs are more dangerous than others. New federal data shows which occupations are the most deadly. Some of them are common in Idaho.

Molly Messick / StateImpact

Before the recession hit, the sawmill in the North Idaho town of Laclede was known for its reliability.  It had never seen a shutdown, not in Steve Spletstoser’s nearly 30 years of working there.  Then came 2008.

It was really eye-opening to see,” Spletstoser says.  “Your livelihood is hanging in the balance.”  Day after day, the mill cut lumber, and day after day it piled up.  Very little left the lot.

A Rancher, A Logger, And Economic Fate In Rural Idaho

Jul 11, 2012
Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

In Idaho, the timber and ag industries are heavy hitters.  They play big roles in the state’s history and identity.  But the recession has dealt them different hands, dividing rural Idaho into winners and losers.  StateImpact Idaho takes a look at two industries, two counties, and two economic fates. 

Courtesy Dick Vinson

It’s a rare thing for a small sawmill to try to get up and running while a crucial market driver for lumber — housing construction — remains in a national slump.

So when the Emerald Forest Products mill reopened in Emmett, Idaho this month, something unusual was happening.

Courtesy Dick Vinson

Stories about mill towns tend to go something like this: generations of families work at the local sawmill.  Then, the mill shuts down, taking hundreds of jobs with it.  Emmett, Idaho is one of those towns.  Boise Cascade closed its mill here in 2001.  But that’s not where this story ends.  Instead, it picks up with a Montana entrepreneur and millions in stimulus funding.

The expanse of ground where Boise Cascade used to operate is quiet and overgrown.  Buildings are boarded up.  A pair of quail struts across an open lot.  But on one corner of the property, there’s activity again.

Cow
Mingerspice / Flickr Creative Commons

The online job search site CareerCast has released its list of best and worst jobs for 2012.

Topping the worst list are two professions with a history in Idaho: dairy farmers and lumberjacks.

CareerCast ranked 200 jobs based on these factors: work environment, income, outlook, stress and physical demands.  Continue reading...