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LUMBER PRICES NOT FAULT OF LUMBER RETAILERS

 LUMBER PRICES NOT FAULT OF LUMBER RETAILERS
 ATLANTA, March 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Recent increases in lumber


prices are not the fault of lumber retailers declared a representative of the retailers in a prepared statement issued today.
 "Lumber retailers are being accused of taking advantage of a strengthening market, when in fact, a shortage of raw products is the real culprit in the recent sharp escalation of lumber and lumber products," stated Ervin W. Goodroe, executive vice president of the Construction Suppliers' Association.
 Speaking on behalf of the retailers, Goodroe explained that record lumber and building material prices are being generated by timber supply shortages and not retailers. He stated further that even in light of the considerably higher prices, profit margins for retailers are almost non-existent. According to latest surveys, less than 50 percent of the retailers are showing a profit. The vast majority of those showing a profit are not realizing more than a 2-3 percent profit.
 He blamed litigation over environmental laws and regulations, endangered species recovery, misuse of the Forest Service's administrative appeals process, reduced funding for federal timber sales and increased regulation of private timberlands for the "record low levels" of timber supplies.
 Goodroe also attacked the U.S. Forest Service's sale program request for fiscal 1993 as totally inadequate to meet the needs of the American consumer and the lumber supply industry.
 He said the service's proposed 7.5 billion board feet to 8.0 billion board feet would be the lowest sale level since 1957. "The current timber supply shortage could not come at a worst time. It appears there is some activity in the construction industry due to low interest rates and continued price increases could be very counter-productive," he said.
 "When consumers, builders and others go into a lumber store to buy lumber or building products they should keep in mind that the "preservationists" played a major role in the high prices for the lumber and building products," he continued. "We all believe in and support conservation and the protection of our environment. We, as an industry have also come to realize that if we are not good stewards of this renewable resource we won't have a resource and we will be out of business," he continued.
 "To further exacerbate the problem, a 15 percent tariff has been re-imposed on Canadian lumber being exported to the U.S. Canadian lumber accounts for approximately 25 percent of the consumption of lumber in the U.S.
 "The really disturbing thing about this whole issue, is that if building continues to increase, we will see shortages in supply, which will lead to even higher prices," he said. "We, as an industry, don't want to see this."
 -0- 3/12/92
 /CONTACT: Ervin W. Goodroe of the Construction Suppliers' Association, 404-653-0178/ CO: Construction Suppliers' Association ST: Georgia, Alabama IN: SU:


BR-BN -- AT014 -- 7747 03/12/92 11:41 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 12, 1992
Words:482
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