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Maine Loggers Applaud $200 Million For Industry In Relief Bill

Robert F. Bukaty
Associated Press
A logging truck travels through Jay, Maine, Thursday, April 16, 2020.

Maine loggers are cheering the inclusion of $200 million for the industry in the new COVID-19 relief package Congress passed Monday night.

Dana Doran, president of the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine, estimates that the state’s harvest has dropped by as much as 40% this year, putting an estimated 900 loggers and truckers out of work.

The aid package, he says, should help the industry stay afloat until spring, when it’s hoped that pulp and paper markets damaged by the pandemic will open back up.

“It’s historic. Loggers have never been recognized. And now we feel like there’s some parity between loggers and farmers or fishermen. And loggers are the farmers of the forest; they should be treated just the same as other farmers who are out there,” Doran says.

It’s too early to tell, he says, how exactly, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will distribute the funds, but he expects direct grants rather than loans. The aid package also includes $300 million for the seafoods sector, to be administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

A Columbia University graduate, Fred began his journalism career as a print reporter in Vermont, then came to Maine Public in 2001 as its political reporter, as well as serving as a host for a variety of Maine Public Radio and Maine Public Television programs. Fred later went on to become news director for New England Public Radio in Western Massachusetts and worked as a freelancer for National Public Radio and a number of regional public radio stations, including WBUR in Boston and NHPR in New Hampshire.