Alberta helps struggling forest sector but can’t assume industry costs

Alberta says it will do what it can to help its struggling forest sector but it can’t afford to cover some of the industry’s costs.

EDMONTON — Alberta says it will do what it can to help its struggling forest sector but it can’t afford to cover some of the industry’s costs.

The government has responded to recommendations made in an eight-month-old study on forestry industry competiveness.

The report says the province will make it easier for companies to transfer timber tenures and look at allowing companies to sell wood to coal-fired power plants for fuel.

Ted Morton, minister of sustainable resource development, says it’s clear that market conditions have continued to deteriorate for the forest sector, leading to mill closures and job losses.

Morton says the province can’t move on some recommendations because they may break the softwood lumber agreement with the U.S.

The Alberta Forest Products Association says 3,800 forestry jobs in the province have already been lost and without more help the situation will get worse.

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