Recently, I heard that a sawmill somewhere near here got an order from China for 9 million feet of 6-foot white pine boards. If true, I hope this trend will amplify and continue. It would be a ray of hope for loggers, landowners, sawmill operators and any state government seeking tax revenue.
Some within the building community might view such a development as a threat. They would argue that it would lead to higher lumber prices here.
It seems to me that it is highly unlikely that the building boom will return at any time soon. If that’s the case, then some sawmills might not make it. Followed to its logical conclusion, that means only one or two sawmills would survive. Those would have a monopoly, and they would decide what they would pay for logs coming in, and what to charge for lumber going out. I don’t think it would be cheap.
The dowel mills are gone. There are no hardwood facilities left. White pine is Maine’s last hope for a long-term, sustainable forestry industy (who knows what will happen with the paper mills).
The state should be sending out legions of people to help sawmill operators cut through red tape and bureaucratic obstacles so that sawmill operators can take orders and produce lumber.
For once, it would be nice to see that globalization could benefit a sector of Maine’s economy, a sector that has done so much over the years to contribute to the tax base.
Andrew Bennett, Buckfield

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