Arizona Forest Restoration Products will not contest U.S. Forest Service decision to award thinning, restoration contract on 300,000-acre parcel in northern Arizona to Montana's Pioneer Associates, says decision unlikely to be overturned

LOS ANGELES , June 14, 2012 () –

Flagstaff, Arizona-based Arizona Forest Restoration Products Inc. (AZFRP) has decided not to contest the U.S. Forest Service’s decision to award rights to thin and restore a 300,000-acre parcel of land in northern Arizona to Montana-based Pioneer Associates, reported the Arizona Daily Sun on June 14.

AZFRP President and CEO Pascal Berlioux, who has been attempting since 2006 to build an oriented-strand board (OSB) plant in the Flagstaff area that would need wood from Forest Service-controlled land, said the agency's decision was a vague “best value” judgment that was unlikely to be overturned.

On the day that administrative appeals were due, Berlioux had sent out a three-page, single-spaced email listing the reasons he thought his company would be a better choice, the Arizona Daily Sun reported.

Legal appeals of the decision are still possible. The Center for Biological Diversity, Grand Canyon Trust, and others objected to the contract over concerns that Pioneer Associates would not be as collaborative a partner as AZFRP, lacked local experience, and that its plan to convert biomass into cellulosic biodiesel was untested.

As previously reported by the Associated Press on June 8, Pioneer Associates is expected to and have a mill producing flooring and furniture by 2014.

The local communities will benefit from the awarding of the contract for the Four Forests Restoration Initiative not only economically but environmentally. Each year of delay has risked catastrophic fires that could have wiped out the forest resource, the Arizona Daily Sun reported.

Pioneer Associates was chosen based on factors that included its hiring about 500 people, it could start seven to eight months after contracts are signs, it would make a variety of products, and it would stabilize fuel costs by using biomass for biofuel.

The products the company plans on producing include molding and flooring that imitates hardwoods, providing it with the diversification that would cushion the business during recessions, according to the Forest Service, reported the Arizona Daily Sun.

The primary source of this article is the Arizona Daily Sun, Flagstaff, Arizona, on June 14, 2012.

 

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