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Timber Harvesting Safety

On May 23, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published a Notice of Intended Rulemaking to revise its current stormwater regulations “to specify that an NPDES permit is not required for stormwater discharges from logging roads” and setting forth the defining point that “logging roads are not stormwater discharges ‘associated with industrial activity.’”

On April 26, Judge M. Casey Rodgers, of the Northern District Court of Florida, issued a preliminary injunction blocking the U.S. Department of Labor from implementing its new H-2B Program Rule. This Rule, which governs employers’ treatment of foreign guestworkers regulated under the H-2B visa program, would have imposed new costs, minimum work guarantees, multiple itineraries, and worker housing inspection requirements to the extent of making the program unworkable for many industries, including reforestation.

We’ve been directed to a web resource that Sappi Fine Paper North America recently launched, branded as “eQ,” which provides, apparently on a quarterly basis, downloadable publications on various sustainability topics, designed with high production values.

RISI’s April International Woodfiber Report observes that the abundance of natural gas, and falling prices, has prompted many U.S. pulp and paper mills to launch processes to switch “to higher gas consumption, displacing substantial volumes of traditional in-woods biomass.” RISI quotes the phrase “permanent for the foreseeable future” with respect to this switchover and points out that it “could crush the largest existing biomass market in North America.”

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