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Weekly News 2.13.12

Posted By John Dorka, Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Weekly News 2.13.12

  • PUCO to Revisit AEP Rates on Small Businesses/Input from Affected Businesses Requested. It appears that the outrage from small businesses over the increased AEP rates has prompted PUCO to take another look at the rate plan. PUCO Chairman Todd Snitchler has indicated PUCO will give full review to the impact of the current rate structure and come up with an appropriate solution. PUCO is asking affected businesses and those impacted by the increased rates to provide information and comments to them through an online portal. I suggest all affected OFA members to provide feedback to PUCO through this portal site. If you do, you should refer to case 11-346-EL-SSO. OFA will provide comments on behalf of the members who have already responded to the request for the impact of the increased rates.
  • Athens Messenger Lead Article on the Electric Rate Impact on Sawmills. The impact of the rate increase is being felt all too harshly with the wood industry. In the February 12 issue of the Athens Messenger, you can read about the imminent closure of Glandon Lumber in McArthur and the impact on Superior Hardwoods and Twin Oaks Forest Products of the higher rates.

  • Log Truckers Getting Too Much Attention. There have been numerous reports over the last couple weeks that log truckers in southern Ohio are getting stopped inordinately by the State Patrol and PUCO for weight checks and truck inspections. With the unusually wet and warm winter we have experienced, it has been very difficult for logging contractors to work regularly and for wood manufacturers to maintain a decent supply of logs. At a time when contractors found enough decent weather to log, they are now being slowed by numerous truck stops. OFA is working with local authorities to get them to be reasonable with their enforcement actions.

  • Notes on Recent Congressional Actions. Here is a copy of the February 12 Government Affairs Notes from the American Forest and Paper Association on recent Congressional actions. It includes updates on Boiler MACT, Highway Bill and Truck Weights, Postal Reform, and a Forest in the Farm Bill Coalition Letter on the Conservation Title.

  • Thousand Cankers Disease (TCD) of Walnut Update. Last week, Illinois implemented an exterior quarantine of walnut products in response to the threat of TCD in the state. Although there has been no confirmed TCD in the state, a quarantine has been implemented to prevent such an occurrence. You can read a news release from the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDAG) outlining the quarantine. Anyone wishing to move walnut products into or through Illinois that originated from a TCD infested area must enter into a compliance agreement with the IDAG. The materials also must have a phytosanitary agreement that indicates they meet conditions of the compliance agreement. Here is a fact sheet on TCD and compliance agreement form.

  • Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Association (IHLA) Annual Meeting. I had the opportunity to attend the IHLA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis last week. It was very well attended and had a theme playing off the Super Bowl that had been in town the week before. IHLA is holding up well through very difficult times and is offering excellent benefits to its members. It was noted that IHLA has recently created a for-profit insurance subsidiary to offer a host of insurance benefits to members at competitive rates and to provide additional revenue to the association. It was reported that NHLA will conduct a 14-week summer school this year for lumber grading at Purdue University for up to 25 attendees. I met with a number of exhibitors urging them to participate in the Paul Bunyan Show.

  • Environmental Professionals Network (EPN) at OSU. The Ohio Forestry Association was asked to represent forestry interests on an advisory committee for the development of a new Environmental Professionals Network. David Hanselmann, former Chief of the ODNR Division of Soil and Water Conservation is now an OSU Professor in the School of Environment and Natural Resources. He is exploring the creation of an EPN and has asked representatives from numerous conservation and environmental fields to be involved on an advisory committee. The network would provide conservation professionals the chance to network through meetings, on-line connections, and training sessions.

  • Ohio Tree Farm Committee Quarterly Meeting. The Ohio Tree Farm Committee (OTFC) met at ODNR and discussed plans for the coming year. Gene and Theresa Sipos are the new co-chairs of the OTFC. The 2012 Ohio Tree Farmers of the Year are Wayne and Benita Lashbrook who will be recognized at the OFA Annual Meeting on March 24. It was reported that there is a newly re-organized Regional Forestry Association in the works, combining the former Northwest Ohio Woodland Association with the West Central Ohio Forestry Association. Tom Mills is working on the re-organization and reported strong interest among a large group of woodland owners in the area.
  • ECOFA March Newsletter. This March Newsletter from the East Central Ohio Forestry Association has information on the most recent meeting presentation by Dr. Greg Miller, owner of Empire Chestnut Co., and upcoming workshops and conferences


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