Archive for June 21st, 2011

from jhwygirl – I’ve talked in the past about a “value-added” economy, meaning one where raw materials are added to in value. This is where jobs and revenue are created. It would be my preference that we focus our economic growth policies (regulatory and tax) on the “value-added” side and not the extraction of raw resources side. That is because the “value-added” is far more economically advantageous than the mere exportation of raw resources.

Below is a guest post from Matthew Koehler. I’ve taken some liberty there at the end with Roy Keene’s LTE, wishing not to post the entire piece, and instead providing highlights.

This piece is by forester, logger and private timber broker Roy Keene from Eugene, Oregon. While the article deals mainly with Oregon, it also includes eye-opening figures from the greater Pacific Northwest region about the tremendous amount of uncut public lands timber already sold and under contract in the Pacific Northwest.

Right now in the Pacific Northwest there is enough timber already under contract to logging companies and timber mills from federal and state forest lands to fill nearly 500,000 logging trucks (that’s enough logging trucks lined up end-to-end for nearly 4,200 miles. Imagine log trucks lined up end-to-end from Missoula to New York City and back again!) Yet this 2 billion board feet of public timber remains uncut because of the economy, lack of construction and glut of homes and developments already built, but unoccupied.

Yet, given these facts, some politicians want us to believe the timber industry is “starved for timber” and that we need to mandate more logging of our national forests to create “timber jobs?”

Roy Keene, a forest consultant and private timber broker in Eugene Oregon writes in a guest viewpoint for The Register-Guard:

Drive the Columbia River from Longview into Portland, and you can see big log ships lined up. At least 500 timber jobs leave the Northwest weekly as boatload after boatload of raw logs are exported to Asian mills.

The Business Insider website reports, “While Canada has drastically raised lumber shipments to China in recent years, the U.S. has instead expanded exportation of logs to Chinese sawmills and plywood manufacturers. With exports up 150 percent,” the Insider says, “the U.S. is now the third largest softwood log supplier to China.”

Updated U.S. Forest Service data show 1,100 million board feet of logs shipped out of the Northwest in 2010, compared to 700 million feet in 2009. This year’s first quarter exports, at 390 million board feet, are double the 191 million shipped in 2010’s first quarter.

Here in Missoula County, “value-adding” to timber is a scarcity with Smurfit and Stimson having closed. Pyramid in Seeley is still steaming forward, having specialized on some sort of wood product. Does make you wonder where all the logs are going that you see on the highways.

Keene continues (keeping in mind he writes from Oregon):

Today’s political ploys to increase logging on public lands are little different than what they’ve always been — well rewarded resource plundering. The reality is that global timber corporations are being allowed to exploit the Northwest like a Third World resource center. To honestly restore our jobs and forests, this inequity needs to be resolved by stopping the largest loss first — the unrestricted export of raw logs.

In 1990, DeFazio implored the first Bush administration to resolve domestic timber shortages by invoking the Export Administration Act. This would have eliminated log exports from all public and private lands. Instead of attempting to increase federal timber harvesting, Oregon’s congressional delegation should ask President Obama to do what Bush wouldn’t — invoke this act. Keep the huge volume of Northwest timber already harvested or sold here at home.

Stop raw log exports, and Oregon’s timber workers can significantly swell their ranks to meet the world’s increasing need for high-quality finished wood products. It’s a win-win for the people and forests of the Northwest!

Can’t argue with that.

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