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Weekly News 3.12.12

Posted By John Dorka, Monday, March 19, 2012

Weekly News 3.12.12

  • AEP rate information. Last week, PUCO approved an interim generation capacity pricing system for AEP as well as endorsed interim rates, while AEP prepares a new rate plan that it intends to present to PUCO before the end of the month. A two-tiered generation capacity rating system was created whereby suppliers would pay a market-based price of $110 per megawatt-day for the first 21% of customers in each rate class. The rate for the remainder of the customers in the class will be $255 per megawatt-day. PUCO believes that this is an appropriate short-term resolution for AEP competition while it revisits the capacity charge issue and a revised electric security plan.

  • State Senator Shannon Jones (R-Springfield) to Chair the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee. Senate President Tom Niehaus announced that State Senator Shannon Jones will replace Senator Dave Daniels as Chair of the powerful Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee. Senator Daniels recently was appointed as the Director of the Department of Agriculture and vacated his Senate District 17 seat in southern Ohio. The position is extremely important as the state wrestles with such issues as AEP rates, shale drilling, and Governor Kasich’s imminent energy policy.

  • BWC Information. Attached are two news releases from CareWorks Consultants, Inc., the administrator for OFA of our BWC Group Safety Program. The first is a flyer from CCI on their 2012 safety seminars which will discuss BWC’s newest program, Destination Excellence, which involves a Transitional Work Program and Hazard Recognition. Attendance at one of these seminars fulfills the new BWC requirement for 2 hours of safety training for group-rated employers who had a claim in 2009 or 2010. The second news release explains in brief what a Group Retrospective Training Program is about and the pros and cons of participating in this type of program. Companies interested in enrolling in this program must do so through a group sponsor and have until the end of April to apply this year.

  • APHIS Changes EAB Quarantine Response. Last week, APHIS announced that it is changing its plant protection and quarantine policy toward Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). Based on the attached map of the quarantine area, APHIS will consider the entire continuous quarantine area as a single unit and start focusing its efforts on the edges of the quarantine. With that decision, APHIS will allow unrestricted movement of regulated products within contiguous quarantine areas. The conditions for movement of regulated articles out of the EAB-quarantine area remain the same. APHIS believes this is the most efficient approach to deal with the problem given their resources and complexities of the regulatory requirements. For more information you can visit the APHIS EAB website.

  • Collins Amendment on Boiler MACT Not Included in Highway Bill / OFA Co-Signs NAM Coalition Letter. Last week, the Senate voted down a number of amendments to the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Bill, S 1813 (Highway Bill) one of which was the Senator Susan Collins Amendment, No. 1660, which contained language from the EPA Regulatory Relief Act and addressed the Boiler MACT issues. In order for the amendment to carry, the Senate needed a 3/5 positive vote count (60 Senators) for the vote to carry. The vote only received 52 votes in favor, 46 against, and 2 Senators that did not vote. Of Ohio’s senators, Sen. Portman voted for the amendment and Senator Brown voted against it. Attached is a copy of a coalition letter organized by the National Association of Manufacturers that was sent to all US Senators concerning support for the Collins Amendment in the Senate Transportation. The coalition letter urged all Senators to vote for including the amendment in the bill. More than 100 organizations signed the letter. Also attached is an article from the Wall Street Journal that talks about disappointment within the Business Roundtable on the voting down of this amendment as well as one dealing with the Keystone Pipeline.

  • Logger Re-Certification Training. Last week, OFA hosted Logger Re-Certification training at Scioto Trail State Forest on March 1 and 2. BMP training was conducted by Dave Apsley from OSU Extension, Jeff Jenkins from Glatfelter, and Bob Mulligan from ODNR – Division of Soil and Water Resources. Twelve loggers were in the class. On Friday, March 2, Ryan Redoutey trained 10 loggers in Level 1 Chainsaw Training (CSAW).

  • OFA presents to Farm Bureau Policy Committee on Federal Logging Road Issue. Last week, I made a presentation to the Ohio Farm Bureau Natural Resources Policy committee about federal court actions and potential Congressional action on logging road regulatory issues. You may recall from previous reports and an article in the Ohio Woodland Journal that the Ninth Circuit Court in the Pacific Northwest has ruled that logging roads on public and private lands require NPDES permits through the EPA. This decision is being fought through Congress and the US Supreme Court. I hope that the Ohio Farm Bureau will agree to join forces on changing the Ninth Circuit Court decision.

  • Ohio Primary Elections. No doubt many are well aware of the results of the primary elections. One race of particular interest to OFA which came as a surprise to many was the loss of incumbent U.S. Rep Jean Schmidt (R-Loveland) by a political newcomer in the district. Rep. Schmidt is serving her 4th term. Rep. Schmidt had been a champion of issues important to the forest products industry, most notably her early support and sponsorship of legislation to reform truck weights on U.S. highways. She was also very involved in other Clean Air Act concerns. Time will tell how this change plays out.

  • Wood Markets Highlights Report on Chinese Housing. Wood Markets has a February 2012 Monthly International "Highlights” Report on an unprecedented effort in China to orchestrate its housing market. In essence, in 2012 China is decreasing housing prices to balance out excess housing stocks in the short term, but then in the long term will subsidize massive expansion of housing through government financing for an urban population that is rapidly rising. It is an effort of a "command economy” vs. a free-market economy.

  • Small Business Administration (SBA) Upcoming International Trade Seminars. The following are upcoming international trade seminars sponsored by SBA:

    • March 13, 2012 - The Southern Ohio International Trade Assistance Center (ITAC) and the SBA will host an Exploring Exporting breakfast seminar at the OSU South Centers in Piketon, Ohio. The agenda includes an introduction to exporting, export assistance resources, and details on the IMAGE program. To register, contact Kelly O'Bryant at (740) 289-2071 ext. 235.
    • March 20-21, 2012 – The Ohio Business Matchmaker 2012 will be held at the Wright State University, Nutter Center in Dayton, Ohio. For more information and to register, click here.
    • March 22, 2012 - The Xavier/SODEC 6th Annual International Trade Conference Market Watch: Brazil, China, South Korea & Vietnam will be held at Xavier University, Cintas Center in Cincinnati from 7:00am-5:00pm. For more information and to register, click here.
    • April 19, 2012 – The Southern Ohio ITAC and the SBA will host an Exploring Exporting breakfast seminar in South Point, Ohio. The agenda includes an introduction to exporting, export assistance resources, details on the IMAGE program, and U.S./China trade initiatives. To register, contact Kelly O'Bryant at (740) 289-2071 ext. 235.
    • May 9, 2012 – The Southern Ohio ITAC and the SBA will host an Exploring Exporting breakfast seminar in Chillicothe, Ohio. The agenda includes an introduction to exporting, export assistance resources, and details on the IMAGE program. To register, contact Kelly O'Bryant at (740) 289-2071 ext. 235.

  • NEOFA Newsletter. Attached is the March Newsletter for the Northeast Ohio Forestry Association. This issue contains information on the last meeting and the next meeting which will have a discussion on Asian Longhorned Beetle, the tree classifications, and other general forestry information.

  • Mechanical Tree Planter Available. OFA Board member Dick Sorg is passing along the availability of a mechanical tree planter for sale in Bremen, Ohio. The planter is a Whitfield Forestland II Semi-Automatic Tree Seedling Transplanter. The model is a heavy duty F-85 and in very good condition. The planter is owned by Caroleta Colborn who previously worked as a private tree-planting contractor, but is now retired and moving to another part of the country. The unit weighs about 2,200 pounds. It is a very heavy duty unit, and described as one of the heaviest in the industry. At least a 70 HP tractor is needed to pull the machine. Any one interested should contact Caroleta at 740 569-7568.

  • Penn State Extension Offers Chestnut Growers School.Attached to this report is an announcement from Penn State Extension for an American Chestnut Grower School on March 31 at the PSU Extension office in Mercer, PA about 25 miles east of Youngstown. There is a $20 "donation" for attending the school with proceeds going to support Chestnut educational opportunities.
  • "The Lorax" Getting Attention in Forest Products Community. With the release of the animated movie "The Lorax" based on the Dr. Suess book by the same name, a buzz has been generated in the forest products community about the movie and its impact. I have received inquiries already about what OFA thinks about the movie and have seen notices and comments from other associations and groups about the message that the movie is passing along. I received a recent note from the Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers, Inc. (AHMI) that one their members had written a book called "The Truax" in the 1990's to counter the message of The Lorax. The book was written by Terri Birkett of Ten Oaks Flooring. You can see an electronic version of the book on Ten Oaks Flooring website, which includes both the book and lesson plans for teachers who want to use it classrooms. TheSustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) is also passing along comments aboutThe Lorax.

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