Posted By John Dorka,
Friday, January 13, 2012
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Weekly News 1.9.11
- OFA was involved in several meetings last week and the
following is a summary of those meetings:
- PUCO. A coalition of 4 associations which included OFA attended a meeting with
PUCO staff to discuss the AEP rate issue which was recently passed by
PUCO as part of the AEP Electric Security Plan. Initial information
from rate analyses for several manufacturers shows that distribution
rates for GS2/GS3 rate users may go up considerably with the new
plan. OFA manufacturers under AEP distribution should look closely
at their electric bills in January to see how they have been
impacted. OFA will be working with the coalition to work with AEP
to see about securing transition funding for manufacturers heavily
impacted by increased distribution rates. A fund was created by AEP
per the ESP plan to offer assistance to manufacturers who will be
inequitably impacted by higher than expected rates. OFA
Manufacturer members in the AEP distribution area should stay tuned for
more information as we work through this process.
- ODNR Director James Zehringer. A small group of OFA members met with ODNR
Director Zehringer and DOF Chief Bob Boyles in a "meet and greet”
opportunity to introduce OFA to the new director and discuss policy
issues. It was an excellent meeting and OFA had the opportunity to
reinforce its position on a number of issues including state forest
timber sales, the Master Logging Company Program, Timber Theft and
Trespass, and forestry property tax programs.
- Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF). OFA met with legislative staff from the OFBF to
discuss common issues and concerns including truck regulations, CAUV and
Ohio Forest Tax Law, Timber trespass and the federal Silviculture
Regulatory Consistency Act (S 1369). Ohio Farm Bureau recently
cooperated with the Ohio Department of Public Safety and the State
Highway Patrol to put together a Farmer’s Guide to Truck and Farm
Implement Laws and Regulations which is a handy pocket booklet
that explains all state and federal laws pertaining to trucks and
hauling. Although designed specifically for farmers, the guide
could be very useful for forest product haulers. OFA is working
with OFBF to get copies for OFA members.
- State Representative Terry Johnson (R-89). This past Saturday, several OFA members met
Representative Terry Johnson for an afternoon in the woods to discuss
state forest management issues. Based on a request through Board
member Ryan Redoutey, OFA arranged a tour of Scioto Trail and Tar Hollow Forests.
Steve Brown from Glatfelter and Pat Ruble from the Wildlife Management
Institute also participated on the tour along with Ryan and John
Dorka. The group visited the current Redoutey Logging Timber Sale
in Back Hollow on Scioto Trail as well as several other areas on both
forests. A host of forest management issues were discussed
including the timber sale program, prescribed fires, the Shawnee
Wilderness Area, and "Trees to Textbook” payments to schools for timber
revenues. Rep. Johnson has Shawnee State
Forest in his
district and is addressing issues from constituents on management of the
forest. It was an excellent tour that allowed OFA to share our
thoughts and beliefs on how the state forest system should be
managed. Rep. Johnson is interested in a follow-up meeting with OFA
at Shawnee Forest to specifically discuss
wilderness area management.
- Karl Gebhardt Appointed Chief, ODNR Division of Soil
and Water Conservation. Last week, Karl Gebhardt, former OFA interim Executive Director and OFA
lobbyist, was appointed by ODNR Director James Zehringer as the Chief of
the Division of Soil and Water Conservation. Most recently, Karl had
started his own government relations and lobbying firm, Gebhardt and
- Biomass Definition.
Defining biomass has been a chronically contentious issue for a long
time. Biomass as an alternative energy source has been a forefront
issue for a number of years now. But as surprising as it might be, a
generally accepted definition of biomass, especially as it relates to
woody biomass, has been elusive. On the surface, it seems like it
should be easy to say what a biological product is. But there are a
huge number of issues and interested parties with different agenda that
make it very difficult to come up with an accepted definition, especially
one that will be included in law. Here is a link to an article in The Biomass Power and Thermal magazine that describes a
definition that has been presented to Congress by the American Council on
Renewable Energy (ACORE). A Biomass Definition Subcommittee from
this group wrestled the issue and has proposed a definition. Take a
look at the definition and see what you think. At first glance to
me, it appears OK particularly as it applies to private lands.
Personally, I cannot understand why there is a differentiation between
biomass "from public land” and that from private lands. Biomass is
biomass, regardless of who owns the land it grew on. But there you
go. That’s one of those issues that have made defining biomass a
tough nut to crack.
- American Tree Farm System (ATFS) Fly-In. ATFS is planning a fly-in to Washington DC
March 13-14 to give Tree Farmers the chance to talk with their respective
Congressional representative about the Estate Tax. The current
Estate Tax provisions are set to retire at the end of 2012 so it is
especially important for Tree Farmers to let Congress know how the federal
estate tax works against long-term management of private woodlands. Click here for more information on how to register for the fly-in and availability of
scholarships for those interested in attending.
- Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) News Update. Here is a press release from the
USDA on the latest news on ALB eradication efforts in Clermont County.
USDA has already started removal of infested trees and continues to
monitor for newly infested trees with the area. The news release has
a link to a map of the infested area for those interested in taking a
- Tablet Computers Make a Run at the Lumber
Business. Here is a link to an article in Building-Products.com that describes an emerging trend
about the use of tablet computers in the lumber business. Tablet
sales have increased dramatically in the last year and are expected to
continue increasing through 2015. The article is clearly directed at
secondary manufacturing and retail, but it points out some interesting
opportunities for point-of-sale applications.
- Clifs Natural Resources Idles Biomass Plant. Here is a link to a Cleveland Plain Dealer article explaining that Clifs Natural
Resources, a Cleveland-based company, is dropping a venture into
alternative energy fuels and selling a plant in Marquette, MI
that made biomass cubes. Clifs NR is in the process of selling the
plant and as reported in the article, one of the markets appears to be Ohio
utilities. A couple years ago when FirstEnergy was trying to convert
the Burger Power Plant to a biomass fuel source, Clifs NR was actively
working with FirstEnergy to be a potential fuel source for the plant.
Annual Meeting, March 23-24, 2012, Crowne Plaza – Downtown Columbus, "Shale
Formation Drilling – What is the Impact on Ohio Forestry?” Call
the Crown Plaza at 800-593-5447 to make your hotel reservations at the
special discounted OFA Annual Meeting rate of just $115 plus tax. Be
sure to mention you are with OFA. This rate includes VALET parking (a $24 value)! And if you are just coming in for the day VALET parking at the hotel is just $5. Watch your mail for a brochure and registration information coming out soon or click here for a complete schedule of events. On-line registration will be available soon.
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