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Pallet Profile Weekly's: Front Page News
Pallet Profile Weekly's: Front Page News
By Staff Writer
Date Posted: 2/1/2001
IFCO Looking at All Alternatives to Sell Pallet Division
Sources close to IFCO (PalEx) have confirmed what has been rumored or suspected by many almost ever since IFCO announced that it would sell its pallet manufacturing division as a single unit. IFCO is considering all reasonable options concerning the sale of its pallet manufacturing plants.
It is our understanding that IFCO is considering a variety of possibilities, ranging from selling individual plants to selling plants by region, and of course selling the manufacturing locations as a single unit. Discussions of all these options are reportedly ongoing.
Since IFCO is working to develop a form of affiliate program within the pallet industry, the idea of selling its manufacturing plants only as a unit is no longer as important to IFCO as it had been originally. More details will be released when they are known. (Pallet Profile, Jan. 12)
Roadless Plan Final; Other Limits Unveiled
In a triple whammy to the forest products industry, the Clinton administration finalized new regulations and announced a new policy further limiting timber harvesting in national forests. The centerpiece of the White House initiatives was the Clinton roadless plan. It generally prohibits new road construction and reconstruction in areas of national forests that currently have no roads. This single initiative effectively preserves nearly one-third of national forest lands — putting them off-limits to road building and logging. Another new U.S. Forest Service rule imposes parallel restrictions on the agency’s road network; the restrictions will have the impact of reducing the network of roads by a still undetermined but significant extent.
In addition, Forest Service Chief Mike Dombeck issued a new policy barring the harvest of old-growth timber on national forests. (Pallet Profile, Jan. 12)
Northwest Rocked By Energy Prices
The Pacific Northwest is in the midst of an energy crisis of sorts. The problem: skyrocketing energy prices. Prices on the wholesale electricity market have soared as high as 10,000% compared to prices a year ago. There has been a heavy demand for power, and electricity prices are soaring in an unregulated market.
Adding to the energy woes of Washington and Oregon, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson ordered Northwest electricity to be sent to California to help meet power demands in that state. Prices for natural gas also have been skyrocketing on the wholesale market. Utilities say supplies are in good shape, but they need to charge much higher rates to cover increased costs.
Companies in the forest products industry, like other businesses, are feeling the crunch of high energy costs. (Pallet Profile, Dec. 22)
Endangered Species Listings Put on Hold
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced it was placing a moratorium on actions related to listing wildlife under the Endangered Species Act. The agency cited budget constraints, saying that available funds must be used for critical habitat designations required by court orders.
The moratorium impacts the processing of petitions to list species although the service will continue to add species to the candidate list. The Fish and Wildlife Service is under court order to prepare 57 proposed designations of critical habitat for over 300 different species. Listings and designations are funded by the same line in the appropriations statute, which contains $6.3 million for this fiscal year — most of which will be used for the court-ordered designations. Environmental groups plan to go to court to challenge the moratorium. (Pallet Profile, Dec. 22)
News in Brief
Weyerhaeuser Co. is offering $5.3 billion to acquire Willamette Industries, a deal that would unite two of the largest forest products companies. The Willamette board of directors declined to endorse the bid, however, and Weyerhaeuser was considering a hostile take-over. (Pallet Profile, Dec. 22)