News & Issues
This spring’s Wallow fire had burned 520,000 acres in Arizona as of June 18, causing the evacuation of eight communities, and has now moved into New Mexico; among other consequences, the National Weather Service warns that the extensive burns on the White Mountains “will make numerous locations vulnerable to flash floods and debris flows” even in moderate-intensity rains and urged those in the watershed to take precautions, at least during the coming summer. On June 18, the fire was rated as 51% contained.

The third quadrennial In-Woods Expo of forestry and logging equipment drew over 1,100 loggers to a 300-acre managed forest near Hot Springs, Arkansas, May 19-21, to view and evaluate timber harvesting and processing equipment in action on large demo sites representative of challenging logging conditions.

This spring’s catastrophic tornado season continues at this writing, with the storm system that had already caused great loss of life and property now moving from Kansas and Oklahoma into Arkansas. In terms of damage to forest assets, the late April storms inflicted their worst damage in Alabama, with State Forester Linda Casey citing losses of “tens of thousands of acres of forests.”

On May 24, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies approved a bill that would eliminate funding for the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), the controversial measure that currently provides price supports to biomass owners delivering qualified harvested biomass to eligible bio-energy facilities, as well as subsidies for the establishment of dedicated biomass crops.

We were pleased to observe the Minnesota Department of Transportation, this March, publishing a two-page summary of the major conclusions of its lengthy 2006 study, Minnesota Truck Size and Weight Project: Final Report, concluding with as clear an endorsement of the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act of 2011 as any advocate could wish for:

The impacts of the extreme cyclones that lashed the South in several separate storm systems during April have taken a catastrophic toll in human life across several states.

On April 17 it was announced that Washington State’s Shoreline Hearings Board had dismissed an appeal of Nippon Paper’s plans to build a biomass boiler associated with its newsprint mill at Port Angeles, Washington.

FRA has made available access rights to a “streaming video” record of the 90-minute Webinar on Global Wood Flow – 2011 and Beyond.

RISI’s April International Woodfiber Report notes that North American oriented strand-board mills increased their wood consumption by almost 9% during 2010, “ending a three-year run-down in the industry.”

On February 18, Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine) and Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) re-introduced their Safe & Efficient Transportation Act of 2011 (SETA) as HR 763—essentially the same bill they co-sponsored in the last congress.
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