AZFRP completes second round of funding and ready to engage in permitting process for Winslow, Arizona, OSB mill that would utilize National Forest wood, help improve forest health
February 12, 2010
– In a press release today, Arizona Forest Restoration Products Inc. announced the successful completion of its second round of funding. The multi-investors, multi-million dollars deal in shares and warrants of the company stock concludes successfully the company’s efforts to progress toward the creation of an appropriate scale economic engine to fund ecological restoration of forested ecosystems in northern Arizona toward a fire-adapted ecology. This appropriate scale industry effort parallels and complements the collaborative stakeholders’ effort to produce the social license to proceed with the project, and the U.S. Forest Service effort to progress toward the long-term large-scale wood contract necessary to guarantee the fiber supply required to trigger the full funding of an oriented strand board (OSB) plant in Winslow, AZ.
One of Arizona’s most environmentally innovative business entrepreneurs is backing this unique project that will help restore northern Arizona forests and reduce the threat of wildfires, while producing high-quality building materials for home construction in the Southwest. Jacob F. Long, general partner of John F. Long Properties, is joining the Board of Arizona Forest Restoration Products. Long said he supports the project because it not only benefits the environment, but the local community and taxpayers. In addition to the small-tree thinning and ecological restoration work, the proposed OSB facility in Winslow is expected to support up to 600 jobs and save taxpayers at least half a billion dollars from footing the bill to remove wildfire fuel from 30,000 acres of national forests per year over the next 20 years.
John F. Long Properties has a history of philanthropy and innovative development in Arizona. In addition to donating land for community parks, schools and churches in the Valley, the company designed and executed several groundbreaking ecological projects, such as Solar One, the world’s first solar subdivision built using ground-mounted photovoltaic cells to provide all the residents’ electrical needs. Long Properties also integrated innovative energy-saving techniques in this project, including “rammed-earth” construction, water conservation engineering, solar water heaters, and high efficiency thermal insulation technologies.
“As a second generation Arizona native, I believe it’s critical that we invest in projects that make our state a better place,” Long said. “Saving our forests from devastating wildfires, collaborating with the communities, land management agencies, universities, and environmental protection stakeholders, creating jobs and producing environmentally conscious building materials for the Southwest – this project does it all.”
“We are very pleased to welcome Jake on the Board. His values reinforce the Arizonan character of AZFRP, and his dedication to protect proactively our environment matches our commitment to create an economic enabler for the restoration vision,” Pascal Berlioux, President & CEO of AZFRP stated, “The economic fundamentals of an appropriate size and collaborative OSB project in Arizona remain superb despite the recent economic downturn and housing crisis, and the successful completion of our second round of funding puts us in the best possible situation to complete the full funding of the plant as soon as the wood contract is awarded”.
“In the mean time,” Berlioux further said, “we are now fully ready and fully funded to initiate immediately the half million dollars permitting process as soon as the proper contracting mechanisms can be worked out with the Forest Service, and we are willing to commit to innovative approaches. We look forward to partnering with the existing northern Arizona logging and processing wood industry to create 600 jobs, boost rural economic development to the tune of 170 million dollars per year, and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires at landscape scale over the next 20 years in an economically, socially, collaboratively and environmentally responsible and sustainable way. Today is a good day for the forests and the people of northern Arizona”.