Assuring Newsprint Buyers about Forests: British Columbia's Premier Tells U.S. Newspaper Executives That Canadian Forests Are Being Protected and Preserved

By Stein, M. L. | Editor & Publisher, August 6, 1994 | Go to article overview

Assuring Newsprint Buyers about Forests: British Columbia's Premier Tells U.S. Newspaper Executives That Canadian Forests Are Being Protected and Preserved


Stein, M. L., Editor & Publisher


RESPONDING TO CHARGES by environmentalists that logging is denuding Canadian rain forests, British Columbia's premier flew into San Francisco recently to assure newspapers and other newsprint buyers that the forests are being protected.

Thomas Newton, general counsel for the California Newspaper Publishers Association, who represented the newspaper industry at a meeting with Premier Mike Harcourt, told E&P that CNPA members also are concerned with forest preservation, citing their growing use of recycled newsprint.

He added, however, that he came away from the meeting satisfied that the B.C. provincial government is taking adequate steps to provide for a "sustainable yield" of timber for newsprint.

But at least one California newspaper executive believes that tree protection could drive up newsprint prices to the point where some papers may be forced out of business.

A knot of protesters gathered outside the Canadian Consulate Trade Office in San Francisco, where the meeting was held, chanting, "No ancient forest for phone books and newsprint."

U.S. companies buy an estimated $6 billion a year in forest products from British Columbia, about 10% of which goes to California in the form of newsprint.

The area of contention is Clayoquot Sound, comprising 865,000 acres on the west coast of Vancouver Island. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, 800 environmental protesters have been arrested there in the past year.

Harcourt visited San Francisco shortly after U.S. environmental groups said they were joining an international campaign to save Clayoquot Sound.

The premier told Newton and a representative of Pacific Bell, which publishes 35 million phone books a year, that Canada is undertaking major reforms to preserve the rain forests.

Also at the conference was Jim Hale, president and CEO of the San Francisco Newspaper Agency.

Following the meeting, the Chronicle reported, Harcourt's press secretary, Andy Orr, stated: "Instead of being apologetic about the past, we're saying we're going to clean up the mess and do things differently. Customers in California can look at products from B.C. and have no reason to be worried or embarrassed or ashamed of where it's coming from. …

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