/R E P E A T -- Concerns of the Composite Panel Association vis-à-vis the Green Paper/

    MONTREAL, March 27 /CNW Telbec/ - With the Government consultation coming
to a close, the Composite Panel Association (CPA) has many concerns in regard
to the Green Paper and its proposed orientations. Today, due principally to
global energy demand coupled with the need to reduce our consumption of fossil
fuels, the composite industry in Québec is facing its most important challenge
since its foundation: that of losing its wood fibre supply.
    "There are a number of reasons why residual fibre supplies are decreasing
(reduction in allowable cuts, increased sawmill efficiencies, etc.) and among
those reasons, the ones that have the largest impact are those driven by
government public policy initiatives. These include, namely, policies related
to lowering green house gas emissions as well as policies developed to
encourage the use of alternate energy sources. We understand the need for our
government to take action on these fronts but we cannot ignore the serious
prejudices these practices represent. We need to first consider the huge
negative impacts these policies will have on the composite panel industry and
in our communities," says Mr. Donald Bisson, Vice President, Government and
Industry Affairs, CPA.
    The main concerns of the association in regard to the Green Paper
include: the maintenance of a fair level of competition with energy producers
operating on a biomass basis; the possible imbalance in the support granted to
the bioenergy industry to the detriment of the composite panel industry, and
the non-recognition of the proper value of the panel industry. The industry
also fears the implementation of an increased regional control which could
unduly complicate the good management of projects, especially on the aspect of
the interregional flow of wood residuals.
    Accordingly, CPA reiterates the importance of the panel industry's role
and its capacity to double the 'value added' in the Québec forest industry.
    In Québec, this industry is defined by three pillars: Sacopan, Tafisa
Canada and Uniboard. Their plants, located in La Baie, Lac Mégantic, Laval,
Mont-Laurier, Sayabec, Val-d'Or and Sacré-Coeur cover the whole province and
generate 1,500 direct jobs. Characterized by state of the art technology, in
addition to being beneficial to the environment, it is also centered on added
value and offers a line of goods universally used, in particular, furniture,
cupboards, floors, cabinet work, toys, musical instruments, electronics, car,
    On a basis of 38 states and provinces, Québec has the second largest
production capacity among CPA's North American members (including Mexico)
which represent 14% of the total North American capacity. Hence, Québec,
operating with the most modern equipments on the continent, finds itself
second only to the state of Oregon. Québec has the greatest degree of 'value
added' production of all regions in North America.
    The main challenge for the composite industry is not related to the
market but pertains to the wood supply. In Québec, this implies that white
wood residual fibres, traditionally going to the composite industry, are now
flowing to the animal bedding (bagging), the wood pellet and to the bioenergy
industries. None of these activities are 'value added' nor do they sequester
carbon. On the other hand, the composite panel industry sequesters carbon in
panels for their product life, as opposed to releasing carbon when burning
wood fibres.
    However, the most serious obstacle to a healthy and strong economy,
generated by the bioenergy industry, relates to jobs. It is estimated that the
woodworking industry provides 54 man hours per bone dry tonne of fibre as
compared to 2 man hours in the biofuel industry. In other words, quality jobs,
related to the panel industry, will disappear at the same rate the bioenergy
industry monopolizes volumes of fibres suitable for the panel industry. There
are many opportunities to further optimize the use of fibre from existing
harvesting activities in order to supply cost effective wood for all forest
products companies.
    "Our industry is on the highest level of the value chain and yet does not
have any control on its fibre supply. For the panel industry to survive, it
will require a fibre management system that will control white wood residuals
going to the right industries", concludes Mr. Donald Bisson.
    Tomorrow, the CPA will forward a position Paper to the Government,
outlining its concerns and recommendations. The Association wishes ardently
for a concerted effort by the industry and the Government before moving
forward with the Green Paper's orientations.

    About The Composite Panel Association

    The Composite Panel Association (CPA) is the North American trade
association representing the interests of Canadian, U.S. and Mexican
particleboard (PB), medium density fibreboard (MDF) and hardboard (HB)
manufacturers. In Québec, the member plants are located in: Val-d'Or,
Mont-Laurier, La Baie, Sayabec, Lac-Mégantic and Sacré-Coeur.

For further information:

For further information: or to request an interview with a CPA
representative, please contact: Caroline Martel, Senior Consultant, (514)
845-2257, ext. 244, caroline.martel@cohnwolfe.ca; Source: Composite Panel
Association (www.pbmdf.com)

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