The American lumber lobby says the B.C. government has been under-charging coastal forest companies for timber harvested on Crown lands to the tune of $70 million a year.

And that throws into question the accuracy of B.C.’s marketpricing system, according to the U.S. Lumber Coalition, the American industry lobby group that opposes open access for Canadian lumber producers to the U.S. market.

The charge against coastal producers comes on top of a $300-million claim against Interior producers levied by the U.S. government that is now in the final stages of a lengthy hearing process before the London Court of International Arbitration.

Coalition executive director Zoltan van Heyningen and lawyer David Yocis, who are in B.C. this week, are basing their claim on the fact that the B.C. forests ministry has not updated its coastal stumpage data, the equations used to determine the rates the province charges for timber, for three years.

From The Vancouver Sun: