Oregon asks Supreme Court to take runoff case

Forest Policy Briefs (Excerpts)
by Rex Storm, Forest Policy Manager
Associated Oregon Loggers

Oregon Asks Supreme Court to Take Runoff Case: Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber announced that the State of Oregon will ask the US Supreme Court to review a flawed 2010 ruling by the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, which had declared that forestry water runoff must be treated the same as factory and sewer runoff. Northwest Environmental Defense Center had sued to seek federal water runoff regulation of forest roads. Kitzhaber said Oregon is “at a point in the history of our management of forest lands where we need to develop stability…not management by lawsuit.”

Congress Aims to Overrule Court on Road Runoff: The US House and Senate have introduced industry-supported bills that would prevent direct federal regulation of forest road runoff across the Pacific Northwest. At issue is a flawed 2010 ruling by the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals declaring that forestry water runoff must be treated the same as factory and sewer runoff. The bill would restore the 35-year history of all forest operations being exempt from federal runoff regulation. The bad court ruling, if allowed to stand, would add federal regulation for every Oregon forest road and operation. The bills (HR. 2541; S.1369) are co-sponsored by Oregon Reps. Walden (R-OR), Schrader (D-OR) and Sen. Wyden (D-OR).

Jeld-Wen Sells Controlling Share: Previously announced, Canadian-based investment firm Onex Corp. will purchase part of Jeld-Wen Inc., Oregon’s largest private company. Onex receives a 58% controlling interest of Jeld-Wen for $864 million. Oregon-based Jeld-Wen is the world’s largest maker of wood windows & doors. Onex acquires board seats and a new President, while Rod Wendt remains as CEO. The bruising housing market wounded Jeld-Wen, when annual sales dropped 26% from 2007-’09. Jeld-Wen employs about 2,500 in Oregon.

Seneca Buys Noti Sawmill: Eugene-based Seneca Sawmill Co. announced it would purchase the Swanson Group Mfg. LLC sawmill in Noti, located 16 miles west of Eugene. The Noti plant produces green fir dimension lumber and employs about 120 workers. Once the deal closes in Sept., Swanson’s remaining mills are in Glendale, Roseburg, Springfield, and Glide (closed).

Warrenton Hampton Mill Opens: Hampton Affiliates on Aug. 1st re-started its Warrenton sawmill, after closing and upgrading the mill purchased in Jan. 2010 from Weyerhaeuser Co. Hampton invested millions to make the mill competitive, and producing a variety of dry or green fir and hemlock dimensional lumber for export and domestic markets. The mill opened with a single 100 employee shift, and intends to add a 2nd shift when domestic markets improve. Portland-based Hampton employs 1,600 in OR, WA and BC, with nine sawmills and 93,000 acres of forests.

Sun Studs Memory: Fred Sohn, age 96, founder of Roseburg’s Sun Studs, Inc. and Lone Rock Timber Co., passed away in late-July. In 1936, Fred fled Nazi Germany to settle in Houston, TX, where he advanced in the flour milling industry. In 1949, Fred & Frances moved to Roseburg and founded Sun Studs, a sawmilling innovator for 50 years, which was sold to the Swanson Group in the 2000s. Timberland purchases over the decades became Lone Rock Timber Co., which continues today as a prosperous third-generation family tree farm & logging business (AOL member).

Republican Candidates Vie for Presidency: Opinion polls now indicate Rick Perry, conservative Texas Governor, and former MA Governor Mitt Romney are closely matched Republican front-runners to face Democrat President Barack Obama in the Nov. 2012 general election. Although some may draw a Perry comparison to Texan George Bush, Perry differentiates his 3-term governor’s record with budget-balancing and fiscal restraint. Nine Republican candidates currently vie for the Republican nomination in the May ’12 primary election.

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