Johnson NYT 2008 Montana Timber

Johnson NYT 2008 Montana Timber - In New Era, Timbers...

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December 9, 2008 In New Era, Timber’s Struggles Stir Broad Concern and Support By KIRK JOHNSON SEELEY LAKE, Mont. — A scramble is under way here in Montana to save the historically important, culturally resonant timber industry — once a pillar of the state’s identity, now under siege as demand for housing and wood products has plummeted in the national economic downturn. But what makes this debate different from those about saving automobile makers or banks and whoever else is in line for a bailout are the multiple layers of connection to things that might seem to have nothing to do with two-by-fours, plywood or even jobs. Climate change , for example — how to manage state and federal forest lands as new diseases and insects threaten them in a warmer future — and the soaring costs of fighting wildfires in the West have both become part of the discussion. If the state loses its base of roughly 200 interconnected sawmills, pulp buyers and family-owned tree-cutting contractors, advocates say, who will be left to work in the woods to make them usable, beautiful and safe, and at what cost? “Our fear is that we could lose our infrastructure — the base of knowledge and experience of working in the forest,” said Mary Sexton, the director of the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. “Once it’s gone, it’s gone.” Ms. Sexton is part of a team of state officials, business leaders and environmentalists combing through lists of ideas to reduce costs to sawmills or help them find new sources of revenue to raise their chances of getting by and getting through. Elected officials in Washington are concentrating on speaking up for timber in the next stimulus package that the incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama is putting together. For logging and sawmill operators, the coalition has inspired hope. The difference is stark, they say,
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This note was uploaded on 03/12/2010 for the course PS 225 taught by Professor Pahre,r during the Fall '08 term at University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign.

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Johnson NYT 2008 Montana Timber - In New Era, Timbers...

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