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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE EXTENDS 75 PERCENT LOG EXPORT BAN FOR TWO YEARS; DECISION WILL BENEFIT WASHINGTON SCHOOLS

 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE EXTENDS 75 PERCENT LOG EXPORT BAN
 FOR TWO YEARS; DECISION WILL BENEFIT WASHINGTON SCHOOLS
 OLYMPIA, Wash., Jan. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- A U.S. Department of Commerce ruling which extends the 75 percent log export ban on state timber through Dec. 31, 1993, was hailed by Public Lands Commissioner Brian Boyle as "a thoughtful policy decision that will help Washington's schools weather the budget problems being faced by state government."
 The new ruling, signed by Commerce Secretary Robert Mosbacher on Dec. 29, 1991, was made after a thorough review of the existing year- old rule which took effect following congressional passage of the Forest Resources Conservation and Shortage Relief Act of 1990 (FRCSA). The Department of Commerce was considering expanding the ban to 100 percent.
 "In light of President Bush's open trade overtures to Japan, it seems ironic that I have had to fight to keep the 75 percent log export ban from being increased to a 100-percent ban," said Commissioner Boyle. "I am pleased our recent admonishings were well- received.
 "Unfortunately, when it comes to Washington's schools the Shortage Relief Act is short-sighted," said Boyle. "It has been estimated that state timber sales revenues will be close to $1 billion less during the 1990s due to the export restrictions imposed by this law.
 "The Department of Natural Resources is in complete compliance with the Act," said Boyle. "During 1991 the department met the 75 percent requirement in every major species grade."
 According to recent harvest rates, there is 19-month supply of sold and yet-to-be-harvested timber, a reflection of soft housing markets. Since the Act took effect in January 1991, just under 80 percent, or 371 million board feet, of state sales has been restricted exclusively for domestic processing. Of the export- restricted logs sold, less than 10 percent has been harvested. The rate of harvest has been slowed, due to weak demand, resulting in a buildup of volume held under contract.
 Normally, as logs are harvested and moved to market to meet demand, the volume held under contract is reduced. But, during the past year the volume of uncut state timber under contract has grown to over 850 million board feet.
 "As long as supplies are adequate to meet demand, increasing barriers to trade is not justified under the Act," said Boyle. "The Secretary of Commerce has taken the correct action."
 Today, Washington state faces a one-half billion dollar backlog of unfunded school construction projects.
 -0- 1/3/92
 /CONTACT: Peter B. Summerville or Sandi Snell of the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, 206-753-5330/ CO: Washington State Department of Natural Resources ST: Washington IN: PAP SU:


LM-JH -- SE001 -- 6514 01/03/92 13:16 EST
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Date:Jan 3, 1992
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