Our county’s obstructionist Congressmen Tom McClintock and Doug LaMalfa, CABPRO, Defend Rural America and their local “parrot bloggers” keep complaining that environmentalists are to blame for too little timber harvest and too much wildfire risk. They also complain about all the jobs that are being exported out of state, blaming “regulation,” the Global Warming Solutions Act and so on.
But amid all the political bellyaching, Sierra Pacific Industries said this month it is making a more than $10-million investment in Quincy, with plans to tear down a large-log mill and build a state-of-the-art facility in its place, as the Plumas County News reported.
As it turns out the investment is more about improving economics than politics: Lumber prices are hitting eight-year highs. And by Sierra Pacific’s own admission: “’The mill is outdated and inefficient,’ as company spokesman Mark Pawlicki said during an interview Sept. 26 in the Plumas County News. ‘We need to improve it. The new mill will be more efficient and have a better layout.’
Well, imagine that, more talk about corporate accountability and less talk about “regulation” and global warming, the favorite “bête noires” of our obstructionist politicians.
“This investment says ‘We are really here to stay,’ Sierra Pacific said of the new plant. ‘There’s a long history of Sierra Pacific Industries in Quincy and there’s a long future.’”
The Quincy operation consists of a two-mill complex – one cutting smaller diameter logs and the other cutting larger diameter logs into lumber for domestic consumption, plus a biomass-fueled electric power plant, Sierra Pacific said. The complex employs a total of 295 people at the two sawmills, biomass electric generation facility, in transportation, and salaried workers.
This more than $10-million investment is a far cry from the “gloom and doom” scenario painted by McClintock in another one of his speeches before an empty House chamber (see video below). He blamed “regulation” when the small-log sawmill was temporarily closed in March 2009.
In fact, when the small-saw mill reopened in Febuary 2010, Sierra Pacific said an improving lumber market was the “primary” driver. “According to SPI, recent improvement in the lumber market, should it hold, is a primary driver behind the decision to reopen the plant,” as Sierra Pacific said.
At that time, there was no mention of an outdated big-log sawmill: ‘“We are pleased that we can restart the small log mill, but are disappointed that we must reduce the capacity of the large log mill by half,’ said area manager Matt Taborski. “The market for framing lumber has improved, but we are still operating under a cloud of uncertainty brought about by environmental litigation.
Back in March 2009, when the small sawmill closed, McClintock’s political rhetoric was in high gear. “They made it very clear that the recession was not the cause; it was merely the catalyst,” McClintock said. “The real cause was in their regulatory costs and litigation because of regulation….”
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