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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.