Sierra endangered?

John Barnhill Mar 25, 2009

  1. John Barnhill

    John Barnhill TrainBoard Member

    Check out the boldened part of this article. Will this affect Sierra RR? We've heard already about a partial shutdown of SPI's mill in Quincy. No update on whether or not that will effect the Quincy RR. By the way, the Camino mill mentioned here is the ex Michigan-California Lumber mill.

    Sierra Pacific Industries to shut Camino sawmill

    By Mark Glover
    Published: Tuesday, Mar. 24, 2009 - 11:27 am

    Citing a downturn in home construction and other factors, Sierra Pacific Industries will close its sawmill in the El Dorado County community of Camino this summer, resulting in a loss of 164 jobs.

    In addition, Redding-based SPI said it will close its sawmill and a biomass-fueled electric power plant in Sonora. In Sonora, 146 jobs will be lost.
    Sierra Pacific anticipates that the Camino plant will remain in operation until about June 12, and the Sonora sawmill and electric power plant will run until sometime in mid-July.

    SPI cited a laundry list of reasons that contributed to its decision to close the facilities.
    "First, the downturn in new home construction has reduced both the demand for lumber and the price SPI receives for its finished products" said SPI spokesman Mark Pawlicki. "Second, there has been a fall-off in the amount of national forest and private timber for sale in this area, causing uncertainty of supply.

    "Third, the Timber Harvest Plan review process has become so complex and costly that plan approval has slowed dramatically. Further, current law limits harvest plans to a three-to-five-year maximum time period. This short timeframe forces landowners to harvest timber, even in bad markets. A longer timeframe would provide greater flexibility to harvest timber when market conditions for lumber are more favorable."

    Palwicki said the combined factors "leave us no choice but to close the plants."
  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Well, this leaves me wondering. Housing starts were reported as being up significantly in February. And we're now coming into the springtime building season. Is this shutdown being well considered?

    Boxcab E50
  3. taz

    taz TrainBoard Member

    From the Redding Record-Searchlight...

    Anderson-based SPI announces more mill closures

    By David Benda (Contact)
    Tuesday, March 24, 2009

    Three weeks after announcing it would close a sawmill in Quincy, Sierra Pacific Industries, the nation's second-largest lumber producer, said Monday it will shut down two more mills in California.

    The Anderson-based company will close mills in Sonora and Camino. A biomass-fueled electric power plant in Sonora also will close.

    In total, 310 workers - 164 at Camino and 146 at Sonora - will be laid off. Workers at the two plants make an average of $19 an hour plus benefits, Sierra Pacific spokesman Mark Pawlicki said.

    "It's a matter of poor lumber markets juxtaposed with other factors such as log availability, regulatory problems," Pawlicki said. "We have timberland in those areas, but not enough to sustain all of our mills. We had been relying on outside log purchases from the Forest Service and others, but that supply has diminished."

    Pawlicki estimates the Camino mill, east of Placerville off Highway 50, will close June 12. The Sonora operation, which is in Calaveras County, will stop production in mid-July.

    With the addition of the newly announced layoffs, Sierra Pacific has announced plans to eliminate 484 jobs since the start of the year, which is 11 percent of its work force.
    On March 2, the timber giant announced its small-log mill in Quincy would close on May 4, eliminating 150 jobs. The company also operates a large-log mill in Quincy and biomass plant that remain open.

    Sierra Pacific cut the third shift at its Anderson sawmill in January, a move that eliminated 24 jobs. Blaming the slumping housing market, the company cut the work week at its mills in Burney, Sonora and Quincy to 32 hours in January. The three mills employ a combined 670 people.

    The third-generation, family-owned company has about 4,400 employees with mills in California and Washington. Sierra Pacific owns and manages nearly 1.9 million acres of timberland in the two states.

    But demand for lumber is down significantly. The Western Wood Product Association estimates U.S. lumber demand in 2009 will fall to 35 billion board feet, the lowest since 1982.

    Pawlicki said there are no plans to sell the mills in Sonora or Camino. Sierra Pacific has owned the two mills since the early 1990s.

    "They are considered 'permanent' closures, but the equipment will be left in them," Pawlicki said. "However, we have no plans for reopening them at this time."

    Pawlicki noted that affected employees will be made aware of other opportunities in the company that might be made available.

    "This is yet another sad day for California's forest products industry," said Ryan Land, who manages the area where the Sonora and Camino mills operate. "The plant closures will put many hard-working people out of their jobs and reduce the state's infrastructure needed to maintain healthy forests."
  4. taz

    taz TrainBoard Member

    Probably. But to what extent it'll affect the Sierra may be anyone's guess. The Sierra also services the SPI mill at Chinese Camp...

    Over the last 10+ years, both of these mills where slated to have been closed but haven't been. It's also quite possible that the mill at Standard (Sonora) may be "moth balled" and reopened at a later time...That has happen before with this particular mill. Unfortunately, all that anyone can do is to sit back, wait and see what happens...

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