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Shutdown Halts Logging on Northwest's National Forests
Loggers are packing up and leaving timber sales uncut across the Northwest as a result of the partial federal government shutdown. Timber companies say even if a deal is reached soon at the nation's Capitol, the effects from the logging hiatus could be felt all the way into next spring.
Timber companies received letters from the U.S. Forest Service telling them to cease operations after employees who oversee and inspect timber sales were furloughed.
Adam Molenda, president of Spokane-based Timber Products Manufacturers Association, says the halt to logging comes at the worst possible time for the industry. Molenda’s association represents logging companies, mills, truckers, and others in the Northwest.
“This is a critical time of year. They're building inventory for the winter. So, the loggers can't fall the trees and they're not getting them to the mill. The people in the mill are also going to be affected. And not only are they going to be affected now, they're going to be affected in the spring because they're not going to have any logs in the spring,” he said.
Mills build up their inventory at this time of year because the ground can get too muddy to work later in the season. Molenda says he hopes any deal between the president and Congress is reached sooner rather than later.
One sawmill owner in southeast Idaho told the Idaho Statesman newspaper the shutdown could put him out of business.