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Rubber and Wood May 15, 2024 09:20:05 AM

Closure of North Idaho Lumber Mill a Big Blow, Says Industry

Paul Ploumis
ScrapMonster Author
During COVID, when building was increasing, much of it due to stimulus money, the logging and lumber industry was booming a bit.

Closure of North Idaho Lumber Mill a Big Blow, Says Industry

SEATTLE (Scrap Monster):  Timber industry experts say the closure of a large North Idaho lumber mill will have significant economic impacts.

According to information from The Spokesman-Review (Spokane) the Stimson Lumber Mill in Plummer will cease operations, due to what the company says are strains from tight operating costs. Plummer is a little over 30 miles south of Couer D' Alene, and 43 miles SE of Spokane.

The mill is still generating revenue, but workforce issues are said to be one of the problems. The mill supplies a lot of lumber to Lowes and Home Depot. The company has leased the property from the Couer D' Alene tribe since 2007, but company officials say they doubt anyone else would re-open the mill after it's closed.

During COVID, when building was increasing, much of it due to stimulus money, the logging and lumber industry was booming a bit. But that has since cooled down, there's an excess supply of timber, and coupled with inflation, its getting harder and harder to operate.

Plus, officials say, there are fewer loggers, operators, trucks and workers to employ at the mill making the situation even tougher. Stimson and other lumber officials say in 2022 they anticipated increasing amounts of timber they could process from the US Forest Service, as the government said it was going to prioritize forest health. That would mean a lot more cutting of older, dying trees.

Those kinds of trees are perfect for mills like the one in Plummer, but officials say that government progress has been very slow.

With the excess lumber, and some cooling of demand, it pushes up operational costs because they're not getting as much payoff from the wood.

Officials also say losing mills in the Northwest and other areas is bad for the forest because less logging means the land is left to grow 'uninterrupted.' The land gets overly crowded with trees, they get older and die, and it becomes a prime area for massive, destructive firestorm-like wildfires we've seen over the years.

Courtesy: www.newstalk870.am

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