Building with wood connects us to our environment
World demographic statistics report that one person in three, or one billion people, actually live in slum conditions. One hundred million people across the globe are homeless and over the next 20 years, three billion people, or forty percent of the world’s population, will need a new home. The scale of the challenge facing society is staggering.
City structures have been predominately built with concrete and steel. Even though these materials are durable, their process produces very high energy costs and green house gas emissions. The process that produces structural steel and concrete contributes eight percent of the world’s green house gases. The use of concrete and steel, as building materials, are important to the construction industry and our economy, and not going to be replaced. However, in order to meet the challenges that lie ahead, we must think how to incorporate the use of wood, as a structural material, and not just as a finish product.
Wood is the only building material that is grown by the power of the sun. Trees give off oxygen and soak up carbon dioxide. One cubic meter of wood stores one tonne of carbon dioxide. When a tree dies or is consumed by fire, it releases stored carbon back into the atmosphere. Two solutions to the world’s climate stresses are to reduce our emissions and find storage. Wood is the only major building material that actually does both. Turning wood fiber into products stores the carbon – forever. In essence, wood is nature’s fingerprint. The use of wood, in our building structures, connects us to our environment as no other building material can.
Scientific engineering models show that North American forests grow a 20-story wood structure every 13 minutes. This structure would store roughly 3000 tonnes of carbon or the equivalent of removing emissions from 900 cars every year. Unfortunately, most universal building codes do not allow the construction of wood buildings that are taller than four stories.
One solution, that addresses structural integrity in taller wood buildings, is the development of what is known as “mass timber panels.” These panels are made from young or suppressed growth trees, and small pieces of wood glued together. These “mass timber panels” are eight feet wide and 64 feet long with various thicknesses, and are flexible enough to be erected six stories at a time.
These panels were recently used in a nine story wood structure in London, an 11-story structure in Australia, and a 20-story wood structure is nearing completion in Vancouver, British Columbia. The race for the tallest wooden skyscraper seems to be on, as a 30-story structure is proposed in Austria and a 34-story structure is slated for Sweden. This race is similar to the race back in the 1800’s when the first 10-story concrete and steel skyscraper was built in Chicago in 1885.
Montana, being the rural state that it is, is not likely to build a 20 or 30-story wooden skyscraper anytime soon, however, there are opportunities to incorporate wood as both structural and finish materials in new building construction. Take for example, the new College of Technology (COT) building proposed for the University of Montana campus. The new COT proposes to be around 100,000 square feet on four floors. Montana’s wood products industry manufactures many of the products and materials that can and should be incorporated into the building design. They manufacture trusses, beams, lumber, plywood, fiber and particleboard, flooring, exterior siding, fascia trim and accents, and so on. After all, it is the College of Technology; an ideal location to highlight all the new innovations in wood product materials.
The use of concrete and steel, in building structures, is important to Montana and the global economy. However, incorporating the use of wood into structural design is the way of the future. New innovative building materials are not only structurally sound, building with wood reduces our carbon footprint and connects us to our environment in a way that other building materials simply cannot.
On behalf of the Montana Wood Products Association, I am Julia Altemus. Thanks for listening.
Montana Forest Products Week
This week marks the third annual Montana “Forest Products Week”. In 2011, the state legislature set-a-side a week every October, in order to recognize the value of Montana’s forest products industry, their contribution to the management of our forest lands, and to the stability of Montana’s economy.
The week, commencing October 18 and running through October 24, is a wonderful opportunity for the public, and Montana’s elected officials, to learn more about an industry that has been instrumental in the growth of Montana’s economy since the F.H. Stoltze Land and Lumber Company established at its current Half-Moon site, just northwest of Columbia Falls in 1912.
Montana’s appreciation week coincides with the National Forest Products Week established by a joint resolution of congress in 1960. The joint resolution proclaimed that “our country and its people have always found constant strength, individual peace and personal pride in the bounty of forest and timber land; and from the beginning of our Nation’s founding, the forest and its products have provided a core of living and freedom touching and inspiring each citizen with majestic beauty and practical use.” “As our only renewable resource, wood offers the availability and abundance to satisfy the Nation’s ever growing demand and through modern forestry we can be assured of a continuous supply of timber for the future.”
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsak states, “Wood should be a major component of American building and energy design. The use of wood provides substantial environmental benefits, provides incentives for private landowners to maintain forest land, and provides a critical source of jobs in rural America.” Utilizing wood harvested through sustainable forestry practices in “green” building applications promotes a healthy environment and a strong economy.
Wood as a “green” product has long been recognized by the wood products industry nationwide through a life cycle analysis which is a well-established set of methods for measuring the environmental impacts of a product or service across its entire life cycle; identifying the flow of materials and energy through the various stages, from the point of harvesting raw material, through manufacturing, construction, use, and finally, disposal. This “cradle-to-grave” assessment demonstrates using lumber or wood products in residential and non-residential construction leaves one of the smallest carbon footprints. In addition, when the entire life cycle of lumber is accounted for, each ton of wood carbon replaces up to 2.1 tons of atmospheric carbon.
Sustainable forest management produces healthier forests that serve as a “carbon sink” absorbing greenhouse gases and purifying drinking water for wildlife and municipal water systems. This year alone, forests sequestered 14 percent of all atmospheric carbon.
Timber is among Montana’s most highly valued resources. For over a century, this plentiful, renewable and natural resource has sustained jobs and communities. In fact today, over 160 wood-manufacturing businesses in Montana employ roughly 6,700 people; provide labor income of $295 million dollars and product sales of roughly $900 million every year in the primary and secondary wood products manufacturing sectors.
Traditionally, Montana’s wood products focused on producing dimensional lumber for building and wood fiber for the pulp and paper industry. Today, Montana’s manufacturing consists of sawmills, plywood, fiberboard, and particleboard plants, pellet mills, biomaterial and sustainable building material companies, log and furniture manufacturers, planers and woodworks.
In addition to producing a wide variety of sustainably harvested wood products, Montana’s forest products industry provides the workforce for trail restoration, wildlife habitat enhancement, forest and riparian restoration, hazardous fuel reduction, fire suppression and many other activities.
Montana’s forest products industry is proud to promote healthy forests and healthy communities through the wise management of our forest lands. Forest Products Week is “a great time to celebrate all the things we use and enjoy that comes from trees!”
Two tales of one industry
Two recent opinion articles in a local newspaper highlighted the fact that Montana’s forest products industry continues to suffer from two tales of one industry.
The first article opined that throwing billions more at logging was wrong and went on to suggest that “parroting of Bush-era ‘Healthy Forests Initiative’ propaganda, is nothing but a smokescreen for more corporate logging.” I guess this sound bite plays well, as it is a label the author uses quite frequently and loosely. I don’t even know what “corporate logging” means. The author is equally guilty of stooping to use propaganda to misconstrue and paint a picture in the mind of the reader.
A couple days later, another opinion piece appeared in the local paper from a certified forester. He and his wife were visiting our beautiful state from the east coast. He commented on the magnificence of our landscapes and how lucky we are to live here. “It is an outdoor paradise.” He went on to say, “In our travels, we saw several large sawmill operations and these mills were located in the midst of high-traffic, outdoor and recreational economies. It appears timber harvesting can, and is, compatible with that paradise and helps keep it alive and economically sound.”
French philosopher and writer, Voltaire once wrote that when “men argue; nature acts.” That was as true four hundred years ago as it is today. As we continue to argue about active or passive or no management at all of our public lands, argue about the affects of climate change on the environment, argue whether America’s wood products should come from public forest management or loggers should be employed to harvest trees, nature is acting; and acting with a vengeance.
It is true, for centuries, nature kept North American forests in balance prior to European settlement. However, this balance was upset when people and cities started inhabiting the landscape. Centuries later, it would be ludicrous to ask everyone to leave. So our job, as good stewards, is to mimic the role of nature as best we can.
Until the last few decades, our national forests did not grow overly dense because the natural role of fire was replaced with a program of forest thinning. Forests were logged to provide wood products, and recreational opportunities, resilient ecosystems, and to prevent wildfires.
Even though forests offer many important intrinsic values and experiences; managing the growing stock (by harvesting trees) congress treats wood fiber as a commodity, just like grain, cattle, and so on. This is why the U. S. Forest Service, as an agency, is under the U. S. Department of Agriculture, not the U. S Department of Interior, like the National Park Service.
When environmental groups started organizing in the 1970’s, logging became unpopular. During this timeframe, harvest on national forests plummeted 84 percent, from 12 billion board feet per year in the 1980’s to half the amount in the 1990’s, and has sunk to an all time low of about 2 billion board feet annually in recent years. “As men argue, nature acts.”
Our national forests produce eight times more new growth each year than is harvested. The result of decades of arguing is a massive overgrowth, and with warmer climates, a timber box, when ignited, leaves a moonscape where there was once “a paradise.”
The two tales of one industry is that logging leads to “more deforestation of our dwindling old growth forests,” and that “logging as the solution to wildfire is, at best, a myth.” That is one tale. The other tale is forests are not static environments. Trees keep growing and must be thinned in order to promote and protect healthy forests. This process provides jobs and economic stability to local communities.
The people that comprise Montana’s forest products industry believe they are not only compatible with outdoor and recreational economies; these economies are dependent upon healthy forests and interdependent upon the work this industry provides. One behalf of the Montana Wood Products Association, I am Julia Altemus, thanks for listening.
"Federal fault line"
The federal government manages more than fifty percent of the land west of the Mississippi. Interestingly, less than five percent of the land east of the Mississippi is under federal control.
As Western territories joined the Union in the 1800’s, the federal government made a promise to dispose of the public lands it acquired when each territory became a State. As the 1828 U.S. House committee reported, those terms were part of an implicit contract between the states and the federal government.
When states agreed not to tax the lands within their borders, until they were sold, they were resting upon the implied intent of Congress that lands would be sold within a reasonable period of time.
However, the federal government could not sell lands they did not have clear title to. This fact lead to virtually all Western Enabling Acts to have a disclaimer clause that states, “The people inhabiting said territory do agree and declare they forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated public lands lying within said territory, and that the same shall be and remain at the sole and entire disposition of the United States.”
As new territories joined the Union, every single one had to agree to disclaim title to all of the public lands within their territorial boundaries. The federal government’s response was that until U.S. title could be extinguished, the states could not maintain or even tax those lands. The federal government promised to dispose of the lands so individual states could bring them into their tax base recognizing that “taxing the soil” is a power “incident to all sovereign states.”
President Andrew Jackson, made a statement in a veto message to Congress, emphasizing the Enabling Act and wrote, “It cannot be supposed the compacts intended that the United States should retain forever a title to lands within the States…” Subsequently, Congress never required the disclaimer. Terms in the Enabling Act were simply to provide clear title so lands could be sold.
The question of whether the federal government has seriously breached the law in virtually all Western states is under consideration by many legal scholars and resource management activists. They assert that the original and longstanding policies of the federal government were dedicated to the disposition (not retention) of federal lands. It was only in the 20th century that legislative and regulatory movements shifted towards federal retention of public lands.
At the time of statehood, all Western states recognized that until disposition occurred, the states would be in financial jeopardy. It was a revenue problem then and it is a revenue problem now. The General Accountability Office released a report that foretells of an ever-worsening fiscal outlook for state and local governments through the year 2060, with increasing gaps between receipts and expenditures.
Were Congress to honor compacts under today’s current federal deficit, the financial results could be catastrophic. In addition, in this day and age, few would likely support the federal government selling off public lands and putting them into private ownership where all government control would be lost.
The fact remains, with federal sequestration here to stay (requiring an eight to ten percent annual reduction in program and budget over the next several years) all federal land management agencies will be required to do more with less. With the majority of the impact felt in the West.
The idea that the federal government should dispose of all public lands within state borders is a pretty radical idea. In light of the current and projected challenges facing public land management agencies, bold and drastic measures may be our only recourse. In the meantime, it certainly makes for interesting discussion.
On behalf of the Montana Wood Products Association, I am Julia Altemus, thanks for listening.
Forestry and the farm bill
As the U.S. House and Senate inched towards a Conference Committee on the farm bill last week, some believe the failure of Congress to pass a farm bill in 2012 (instead passing a nine-month extension), and the current stalemate, illustrates how impotent this policy has become. Some believed the extension was a gift to the taxpayer, who would have been stuck with paying for potentially exorbitantly expensive insurance, and price support subsidies, while others believed the extension eviscerated a score of important programs.
With Congressional leaders, on both sides of the aisle, searching for inefficient, wasteful and outdated programs, at a time when federal budget deficits have simply become unsustainable; one thing is for sure, instead of addressing the urgent challenges our farm, food and wood fiber system faces, the farm bill has become a patchwork of programs that not only fails to support each other, but are often contradictory. Without a larger discussion about long-term goals for a system we want and can afford, this failure is no surprise.
A potential solution being brought forward by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) is the replacement of permanent agricultural laws from 1938 and 1949 with the commodity title, which would allow the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as SNAP or food stamps, to continue as an appropriated entitlement rather than be formally reauthorized.
It is still unclear when the House will agree to a conference committee and whether negotiators can produce a bill that could pass that chamber. Early indications are that the republican version of the bill will be unacceptable to nearly all democrats. Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) formally requested a conference on the farm bill last week, while she and other Senate leaders joined Administration officials in chastising the House for separating farm programs from SNAP.
A group of republican House members began meeting last week to discuss the stand-alone nutrition title, and published reports indicated they were considering cuts in the neighborhood of $120 to $130 billion dollars over ten years, six times greater than the amount the original farm bill would have cut. If the Senate conferees demand a conference report that includes nutrition programs, it is unclear whether House conferees would report it back to the House, or whether it could even pass if they did.
Unfortunately, many good programs funded by the farm bill are caught in the food stamp crossfire. Forest management, as well as forest research and forestry assistance, has long been within the jurisdictions of the Agriculture Committees. Although most forestry programs are permanently authorized, forestry has usually been addressed in the periodic farm bills. The 2008 farm bill contained a separate forestry title, with provisions establishing national priorities for forestry assistance. These provisions required statewide forest assessments and strategies; provided competitive funding for certain programs; created new programs for open space conservation and for emergency reforestation; and prohibited imports of illegally logged wood products.
Forestry provisions were included in other titles as well—the conservation title revised the definition of conservation actions to include forestry activities for all conservation programs; the trade title required special reporting on softwood lumber imports; the energy title established two woody biomass energy programs; and the tax title included three provisions altering tax treatments for forests and landowners.
These are all good provisions and are awaiting reauthorization. In addition, the 2013 House and Senate versions include several new and important forestry related provisions, with the majority originating in the House version. Provisions include codifying the Silvicultural Rule, repealing the Administrative Appeals Act, extending Stewardship Contracting, expanding forest health by including a 10,000 acre categorical exclusion for hazardous fuel reduction projects, expanding the Good Neighbor Authority, a categorical exclusion for salvage projects after a declared disaster, and a “know your customer” provision directing the U.S. Forest Service to analyze how the National Forests are meeting the needs of nearby wood consumers.
The farm bill is reauthorized every five years. Assuming Congress will find a path forward and pass a bill this year, now is the time to address the many challenges facing our farm, food and wood fiber systems before the 2013 farm bill expires in 2018. We need a public policy agenda that supports a fair and sustainable system that builds resiliency and is able to withstand shocks in the market place, climate-induced events, and many other economic and environmental challenges.
On behalf of the Montana Wood Products Association, I am Julia Altemus, thanks for listening.
Nothing is quite as load as the silence of a sawmill not running
Nothing is quite as loud as the silence of a sawmill not running. Unfortunately, the sound of the closure of 28 sawmills in Montana since 1990, and the loss of over 3,200 direct, good paying, mill manufacturing jobs has been deafening. These closures and job losses are the direct result of the increase in federal timber harvest litigation during that same time.
The last mill closure was the Smurfit-Stone pulp and paper mill in Frenchtown. It was incredible that a mill, sitting right smack in the middle of Western Montana’s wood basket, could not get enough residual wood supply to keep the doors open. When Smurfit-Stone locked the gate for the last time, just after Christmas 2009, 425 mill workers lost their jobs.
The propaganda of habitual litigators would have one believe the reason we have lost so many mills, was because Montana’s milling infrastructure was simply unsustainable. Don’t you believe it! During this same period of decline, net growth exceeded removals by a factor of 7.5 to 1. Take a walk in the woods. Montana’s forests are choked with too many trees per acre that are now succumbing to insect and disease at an alarming rate. Yet, a sustainable supply of wood fiber was the issue then, as it is now.
Historically, Montana mills have relied on roughly 60 to 70 percent of the timber harvest being supplied by private timberlands, 5 percent from state forestlands and 25 to 35 percent from federal forestlands. In recent years, federal timber, making its way to Montana sawmills, has dropped to roughly 8 to 15 percent of the total harvest; even though 67 percent of the non-reserved timber is on federally managed ground.
Montana sawmills have not run at full capacity, for any significant length of time, since the late 1980’s. Before the mills started closing down one-by-one, lumber production was averaging 1.2 billion board of timber. Since the closure of Smurfit-Stone, lumber production dropped to an all-time low of 374 million board feet. I doubt there are many businesses that could have survived a 70 percent drop in the supply they needed to run their operations, over a prolonged period of time.
In 1990, Montana forests supported 12,646 direct jobs with a payroll of roughly $400 million and $1.2 billion in annual sales. By 2012, forest products employment dropped to roughly 6,650 workers, with a payroll of $295 million and $880 million in annual sales.
It is not just the loss to Montana’s economy that is at stake when a mill closes, there are associated costs. Absent a sawmill, the cost of treating federal timber shifts to the tax payer and becomes a net drain on the federal budget. Whereas, treating federal timber within a log haul distance to a sawmill, is a net benefit to the federal budget, as timber receipts are generated and returned to the U.S. Treasury.
Over the past couple of years, lawsuits affecting timber harvest were thankfully declining. Those in the forest products industry believed, by developing relationships with the conservation community, we had turned a corner. However, not all calling themselves environmentalists want to communicate and collaborate to find solutions to natural resource management. It is these outliers that are now back to the litigation business model of a few years ago.
So why the sudden increase in lawsuits? One could assume a couple factors. Congress attached a “pre-objection” process to a recent budget bill. By the end of the 2013 fiscal year, disagreements over Forest Service projects must go through a pre-objection and resolution process before going to court. Habitual litigators do not want to sit down with the Forest Service and other stakeholders to resolve their concerns. Another reason could be that the increase is a pre-emptive response to federal lawmakers currently seeking to curtail those that “game the system” by filing numerous and frivolous lawsuits.
Montana communities have taken a hit in recent years, and are not likely to survive another blow brought on by the increase in litigation. The sound of a sawmill not running is deafening. Every time a lawsuit is filed in federal court, the logging contractor, log hauler, mill manufacturer and the community are all adversely impacted.
On behalf of the Montana Wood Products Association, I am Julia Altemus, thanks for listening.
Our "last full measure of devotion"
Today is Memorial Day! For some, this holiday marks the beginning of summer barbecues, blockbuster movie premiers, and retail sales events. However, for many Americans, it is a day to pause, reflect and honor the many men and women who, as President Lincoln stated in his address to Gettysburg in 1863, “…gave the last full measure of devotion.”
Taking time to acknowledge the sacrifice of service is documented as far back as 1862, when women in Savannah, Georgia decorated the graves of soldiers. After the Civil War, an annual Decoration Day was created to commemorate the loss of 625,000 Union and Confederate soldiers.
With roughly 40 million Americans having served in our armed forces since the first Continental Army was established in 1775, and with roughly 1.4 million Americans making the ultimate sacrifice since that time; Decoration Day or what was later referred to as Memorial Day, is one of the oldest traditions in American history.
Except when President Roosevelt signed the Selective Training and Service Act in 1940, and until the draft ended in 1973, an all-volunteer military has always served our country. Today, less than 1 percent of Americans serve in the nation’s armed forces. Their service and sacrifice are not always apparent and at times in our nation’s history, have even been scorned.
Even though many of us will visit a cemetery today in remembrance of loved ones no longer with us, it is important to remember what Memorial Day signifies and to pay special homage to our fallen soldiers. Memorial Day should have meaning even for those who do not share a memory. The lives of the men and women who were either drafted or volunteered to serve our country, make and have made significant sacrifice in fighting for the freedom and liberty that we all enjoy today. Many of these freedoms and liberties we take for granted due to a degree of separation between us and the 1 percent.
Therefore, it is only fitting to step aside from the usual commentary of the moment and to remember the freedoms that are defined in the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Gettysburg Address were borne from those individuals who were willing to lay down their lives in the pursuit of freedom and for the belief that liberty was right for everyone.
It is the protection of these freedoms that draw 1.4 million Americans to volunteer to serve in active military duty today and an additional 900,000 to serve in seven reserve units. These service members protect our nation while their families tend to all the daily activities at home, care for the wounded and mourn and survive the fallen.
President John F. Kennedy once stated in his Memorial Day address in 1962, “A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces, but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.” I am sure if that speech were given today, women would also be recognized for their sacrifice, as over 1,000 women have fallen during wartime as well.
As we take time to pause and reflect today, the members of the Montana Wood Products Association wish to offer tribute to those that have died securing peace and freedom. They sacrificed their own dreams to preserve the hope of a nation; and to remember, because those that fought the fight, the duty is now ours. We best honor our fallen soldiers by caring for the living. They deserve nothing less than our “last full measure of devotion." On behalf of the Montana Wood Products Association, I am Julia Altemus, thanks for listening.
State and National Bipartisan Approach to Active Forest Management
The state legislature gaveled to a close last week, a couple days shy of the 90-days maximum set by law. Even though there were numerous media articles regarding the hot button topics of taxes and tax reform, pay bands and pensions, Medicaid expansion, and so forth; legislation pertaining to forestry and forest management (not being the issue de jour) never made the press. Nonetheless, several bills passed with overwhelming bipartisan support having immediate and long-range positive impacts for Montana’s forest products industry. A couple bills also serve to support national congressional efforts as well.
I would venture to say that this was the first session since Montana joined the union in 1889, that state officials were so keenly interested in the management of federal timberlands within our borders. Our electorate witness year after year how well state lands are managed, which has lead to a mounting dissatisfaction regarding the lack of management on federal forests. We all notice the mile after mile of dead and dying timber stands, and are fed up with our summer outdoor activities getting cut short due to wildfire season. We used to have four distinct seasons - winter, spring, summer and fall. Now we have five – winter, spring, summer, FIRE and fall.
This is simply not okay anymore. State and federal officials alike are banding together to find solutions to some very complex challenges. Our representatives understand that allowing the same management scenario to continue, and expect a different outcome, is crazy. We need new and radical solutions, or the 6 million acre death toll in Montana will undoubtedly rise.
A couple state bills transmitted to the Governor specifically state that catastrophic wildland fire has the potential to jeopardize Montanan’s constitutional right to a clean and healthful environment, and thus instructs the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation to advocate for the inclusion of Montana in federal legislation by establishing a “good neighbor policy”. This policy would allow the Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior to enter into a cooperating agreement with the State forester. Engagement in forest management and education activities will reduce wildland fire risk and intensity on federal land designated as wildland-urban interface.
This “good neighbor” authority includes the treatment of insect-infested trees, reduction of hazardous fuels, and any other activities to improve the overall diversity and vigor of forested landscapes. This authority mirrors a recently introduced bill by Senator Barrasso, of Wyoming, authorizing the Secretaries to enter into similar cooperative agreements with State foresters concerning watershed restoration and protection services.
Complimentary to state and national “good neighbor” authorities is a bill introduced by Senators Baucus, Bennett, Udall and Wyden, titled the “National Forest Insect and Disease Treatment Act of 2013”. This bill aims to remove dead and dying trees damaged by disease, bark beetle, and other insect infestations. The bill directs the Secretary of Agriculture, in consultation with state Governors, to designate as part of an insect and disease treatment program, one or more sub-watersheds in at least one national forest in each state that is experiencing an insect and disease infestation, while maximizing the retention of old-growth and large trees. The idea of expediting such treatments is popular in the western states of Colorado, Montana and Oregon. Colorado is ground zero for massive pine beetle infestations and recent catastrophic wildfires. Over the past decade, Montana has experienced ever-increasing wildfire severity, and without intervention, is not far behind.
The US House of Representatives has been busy crafting legislation as well. Representative Doc Hastings, of Washington, introduced a bill which is meant to restore active management on national forests and provide timber revenue to counties. The bill directs the Forest Service to actively manage commercial timberlands to produce revenues by harvesting at least fifty percent of the sustained yield of timber and provide twenty-five percent of the receipts to local counties.
Several other forest management-related bills have been introduced into congress in the past couple of months. The common theme is to authorize state involvement of federal forest management. Governors recognize the importance of healthy watersheds within their state jurisdictions, and the cost to the tax payer when these watersheds are at risk.
The activity and interest on both the state and national level is welcomed. It is a sign of the deep frustration that is apparent in both legislative bodies, and the need to find solutions in a bipartisan manner. That is also, most welcomed.
On behalf of the Montana Forest Products Association, I am Julia Altemus, thanks for listening.