Posted By John Dorka,
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
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Weekly News 2.28.12
- PUCO Scrubs AEP Electric Security Plan (ESP)/Other OFA
Actions - Following the flurry of
outrage from small businesses, schools, churches and other GS2 rate users
in the AEP distribution area, the PUCO voted to revoke the AEP rate plan
that it had approved in December and start the process over again.
The Columbus Dispatch reported on the action last Friday. AEP has 30 days to decide if it
will resubmit its original application from a year ago. After that,
interested parties will have the chance to become part of the case and
present evidence. OFA has agreed to become a participant in the
rate case with 3 other trade associations (Ohio Aggregate and Industrial
Minerals Association, Ohio Ready Mixed Concrete Association, and Flexible
Pavements of Ohio) and have secured legal services to represent our
coalition. Here are copies of two
coalition letters to PUCO concerning both the AEP and Duke Energy rate
plans in which the coalition expressed concern about the plans and were
part of the hundreds of complaint responses to PUCO. These are in
addition to previous letters to PUCO from the coalition. OFA had
also filed a separate complaint on behalf of manufacturing members who had
already learned that their rates were significantly increased. John
Dorka and Adam Conway (Superior Hardwoods of Ohio) met with Senator Troy
Balderson (R-20, Zanesville)
late last week to discuss concerns with AEP rates. Senator Balderson
is currently Vice-Chairman of the Senate Energy and Public Utilities
Committee and can weigh in with PUCO on the issue. In addition, two
Superior Hardwood sawmills are in Senator Balderson’s district.
There was also a meeting with Rep. Andy Thompson (R-93, Marietta) who is a member of the House
Public Utilities Committee, and who also has Superior Hardwood facilities
in his district.
- Athens County "Road Bond” Issue - I had reported last week that it appeared Athens County Commissioners had
taken some type of action on road maintenance requirements for oil and gas
drilling, logging, and mining, based on a recommendation from the Athens
County Engineer. After talking to a number of people, including an
Athens County Commissioner and the County
Prosecutor and further
investigating Ohio legal authorities on
road issues, Athens
implementing a "voluntary” road maintenance agreement that it will
use with drilling companies operating in the County. The agreement
is based on a template developed by ODOT and the County Engineers
Association of Ohio. I was told that in spite of how it was reported
in the paper, it was intended primarily for pending oil and gas drilling
activities in the county. When the local officials were questioned
on why logging was mentioned in the newspaper article, I was told that the
county thought there might be a rare occasion where unusually large
equipment, similar to drilling equipment, would be used in the county.
The agreement indicated that in certain cases, bonds up to
$250,000/mile could be required. I further found out that Ohio law prohibits
County and Township authorities from requiring road bonds. Bonding
can only be implemented if companies voluntarily agree to do so and sign
an agreement. If any member companies are approached with road
maintenance agreements, I encourage you to contact OFA first.
- Hardwood Federation Letter to Congress on EPA
Regulatory Relief Act (S 1813). OFA signed on to a letter from the Hardwood Federation concerning S
1813, the EPA Regulatory Relief Act. You can read the letter here and if you want, you can also sign the letter as an individual or
business. The legislation is directed at putting controls in place
for EPA to address rules on Boiler MACT and giving companies adequate time
to comply with rules once finalized.
- Wood Education and Resource Center
(WERC) Update. The February 12 WERC
Update can be found here.
The update has information on workshops and webinars for the forest
products industry sponsored or conducted by WERC. Scheduled
workshops include such topics as Energy Efficiency in the Hardwood
Products Industry; North American Thermally Modified Wood Standards
Development; New Technologies for Value-Added Wood Products Manufacturers
– Cabinets, Furniture, Millwork; Small Business Strategies and Hands-On
Demonstrations; and Leadership Conference for Promoting Locally Made U.S.
Wood Products. The workshops run from March through
August. Unfortunately, they are all at the WERC facility in Princeton, WV.
The webpage also contains links to archived webinars on a host of wood
products industry subjects. Finally, there are links to an Update on
the Housing Market by Urs Buehlmann from Virginia Tech and an Update on
Wood Markets from Don Deckard, MN Division of Forestry.
- National Review Editorial on Logging Roads. John Gordon, former Dean of the Yale School of
Forestry and Environmental Studies recently wrote an interesting editorial citing the Pacific Northwest court case
and decision which challenges long-standing regulatory approaches on
"non-point” sources of pollution on logging jobs. I had reported on
this issue earlier, but it is still pending and one worth paying close
- Southern Ohio Forestland Association (SOFA) March Newsletter. Here is the March SOFA
Newsletter. Included in the newsletter is information on sugar
maple trees, hemlock wooly Adelgid found in Meigs
County, Kudzu in southern Ohio, and the most
recent and upcoming meetings and seminars.
- OFA 2012 Annual Meeting, March 23-24, Crowne Plaza
Hotel – Downtown Columbus; "Shale Formation
Drilling – What is the Impact on Ohio’s
Forestry?” Early registration rates
run through March 5. You can sign
up on-line at the OFA website.
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