slick propaganda by Weyerhaeuser??
jimfrost at hctc.com
Tue Mar 30 22:12:45 EST 1999
Found it for those who may be interested.
Bill would let big timber bid on state trees
by Jim Lynch
Seattle Times Olympia bureau
OLYMPIA - Weyerhaeuser and other big timber companies may soon be
allowed to buy and harvest trees off state-owned lands if a
four-paragraph bill becomes law.
The new legislation could allow the state's Department of Natural
Resources (DNR) to invite more companies to bid on its timber sales,
including firms now banned from such sales because they export logs cut
on privately owned forest lands.
The bill's sponsor calls it a creative way to increase revenues for the
dwindling school-construction fund, financed in large part by the
proceeds of state timber sales.
"I'd much rather have an open market where you have people bidding the
timber up," said Rep. Tom Huff, R-Gig Harbor, co-chairman of the House
DNR manages more than 2 million acres of state-owned forest. Under
federal law, unprocessed logs from those lands can't be exported; the
idea is to preserve local timber-industry jobs. The law also bans
companies from bidding on federal or state timber sales if they export
logs from their own lands.
That rules out such industry giants as Weyerhaeuser and Plum Creek.
Huff says he crafted the bill after consulting with state Lands
Commissioner Jennifer Belcher, who heads DNR. Both Huff and Belcher, a
Democrat, agree the log-export ban hurts the state because the publicly
owned trees often sell too cheaply.
A DNR study estimated the log-export ban cost the state $350 million
between 1990 and 1997. The impact has diminished during the past two
years as Asia's economic slump has curbed the overseas appetite for
Huff's bill is co-sponsored by 10 other lawmakers, including House
Appropriations Committee co-chair Helen Sommers, D-Seattle. Introduced
yesterday, the legislation would give Gov. Gary Locke more authority to
administer and enforce the export ban while keeping within the intent of
the federal law.
Kaleen Cottingham, DNR's deputy commissioner, says she hopes the
legislation can bring "common sense" to the issue and allow some
competition for timber from exporting companies.
Cottingham said that, under the bill, the governor could:
-- Re-offer a timber sale to all companies, including exporters, if no
one bids on the trees at the first auction.
-- Open sales now limited to companies operating in a certain geographic
area to other bidders.
-- Open timber sales that do not include any export-quality timber to
Still, none of the state timber that would be sold could be exported as
raw logs, except in rare instances.
Cottingham estimates the state could generate an additional $10 million
a year with these changes. The state's school-construction fund fell $13
million short of demand this year, largely as a consequence of declining
Weyerhaeuser spokesman Frank Mendizabal says his company likes the
proposal. "We would welcome the opportunity to bid on state timber and
run them through our mills here in Washington," he said.
But the legislation concerns environmentalists who fought to limit log
exports from public lands, particularly the state's remaining old
"Anything that weakens the existing law, which we thought was a weak one
in the first place, we will have problems with," said Bill Arthur,
Northwest director of the Sierra Club.
The proposal also may rankle some small mill owners, who would face more
competition for state-owned timber.
However, Sen. Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam, thinks most of the mills likely
to object already have gone out of business.
Hargrove has watched the number of small sawmills in his Olympic
Peninsula district shrink to one. "I can tell you that the log-export
ban, with the thought of helping our little mills, has been a bust," he
Michael Hagen wrote:
> It was in my local paper on Sunday presented as a solution to low
> timber payments to Counties. If my scanner was working I'd list it here
> but nada.
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