by Eric Nichols
March 02, 2005
We had more a few weeks ago but Croman lost quite a few of their employees after a fair number failed their drug test. Croman has complained about the lack of local people wanting jobs. It is much cheaper for them to hire locally than have to house and feed out of area workers. Jobs are available if people want to work in the cold, rain and snow.
Log Exports: The USFS does not allow log export except for Yellow Cedar. They control 90% of the land here in SE Alaska. If they sold their annual allowable cut of timber there would more than enough timber for all of the sawmills in SE Alaska. The problem is costs in Alaska and litigation from the environmental groups. The last two years the USFS has sold about 20% of their annual allowable cut due to lawsuits and injunctions by SEAC and others. The timber industry can not make significant investment in sawmills when the timber supply from the USFS is not consistent and subject to litigation by environmental groups and changes in forest policy every time we have a new election. The State of Alaska, Mental Health Trust and the University of Alaska do not have the land base to sustain timber harvest levels to support a sawmill. The majority of the timber has to come from USFS lands.
Without the small amount of export on Native land, University and Mental Health we would not have a timber industry in Alaska today. Over the last few years if we did not have log exports we would not have any logging contractors and the associated support companies it takes to harvest and transport timber around SE Alaska. In 2005 log exports from Alaska will be one third what they were 10 years ago. I have read where it is called greed but if you talk to the logging companies you will find they call it survival. Without the export and the additional markets it gives the industry for logs the timber industry in Alaska would collapse.
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