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Weekly News 4.2.12

Posted By John Dorka, Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Weekly News 4.2.12

  • Oops! Annual Meeting Correction. In my haste to get the report out last week, I forgot to mention two award winners recognized at the meeting and made an error in the name of our Loggers’ Supper entertainment. My sincere apologies for failing to mention Bob Glandon from Glandon Lumber as the recipient of a very special Director’s Award for Lifetime Achievement. Congratulations to Bob for his deserving award. I also failed to mention that the Tree Farm Inspector of the Year recognized at the Tree Farm Awards Luncheon was Adam Beichler, consulting forester from The Wilderness Center in Wilmot. Finally, our speaker after the Loggers’ Supper was Joan Brock who I mistakenly identified as John.
  • Annual Meeting Survey. If you attended the meeting last weekend and have not had time to complete the survey we would appreciate your input. Please take a few minutes to complete this survey and return it to us. You may email it to gayla@OhioForest.org or fax to 614-497-9581.
  • AEP Rate Issue. On Friday, AEP announced that it will soon file a revised rate plan with PUCO that at first glance may positively affect small businesses and households, at least from the original proposal approved by PUCO. You can read a Columbus Dispatch article on the announcement. Once the proposal is filed, we will get a better chance to know the impact of the new proposal. To that end, OFA is part of the "Construction Materials Energy Coalition” with the Ohio Aggregates and Industrial Minerals Association, the Ohio Ready Mixed Concrete Association and Flexible Pavements of Ohio, and the coalition will file to intervene in the rate case so that we have standing on the issue and can represent our member interests. AEP asked PUCO to issue a ruling on the proposal by the end of May so that AEP could have new rates by June 1. However, it appears that there is a large number of groups who will be intervening in the case so it may take longer to work out a final plan.
  • Timber Theft and Trespass Legislative Meeting. Last week, OFA participated in an "interested parties” meeting called by Rep. Ross McGregor (R-72 – western Ohio) and Rep. Bill Hayes (R-91 – east central Ohio) to discuss timber theft and trespass concerns. Many will recall that Rep. McGregor attempted to write new laws on timber theft two years ago but never completed a legislative proposal. The meeting last week included the Representatives with two aides, an aide from Speaker Batchelder’s office, an aide from the office of Sen. Hite (Chair of the Senate Agriculture, Environment, and Natural Resources Committee), OFA, Division of Forestry, Farm Bureau, Ohio Association of Consulting Foresters, OSU Extension, and two landowners from Perry County who are dealing with timber theft issue. Rep. McGregor advised that he has no proposal in mind but wanted to hear from the interested parties and let the landowners air their concerns. There was open discussion from all the parties. OFA maintained the position that it has from the start, which in summary is that there is a timber theft law in the Ohio Revised Code now, but County Prosecutors as a group will not pursue prosecution and rarely apply the law. Rep. McGregor has recognized that point and suggested he will invite Rep. Lynn Slaby (R-41) from Akron who has a long history as a County Prosecutor as well as the County Prosecutors’ Association to a follow-up meeting. Before adjourning the meeting, Rep. McGregor mentioned that he will be term-limited after one more term in office (through 2014 if he successfully runs again). He would like to come up with some kind of legislative proposal that strengthens existing law and he appears committed to that end.
  • Environmental Professionals Network. I was again asked to participate in a planning meeting on behalf of OFA at OSU to help develop an Environmental Professionals Network (EPN). The EPN is being developed through the OSU School of Environment and Natural Resources and is intended to create a forum whereby professionals in a broad range of environmental disciplines can give and receive information about any environmental issue that is taking place. For example, shale drilling would be a topic of current discussion if the network existed. OFA will continue to support the effort. I noted that forestry, forest products and woodlands were frequently cited as topic areas, but OFA was the only interest group representing those disciplines. (As an aside to this issue, I’ll mention that we met in the Nationwide – Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center on OSU campus which was built in the last several years as the first LEED accredited "green” building on campus. Unfortunately, there was no use of hardwoods, let alone Ohio hardwoods, in the building. However, there was noticeable amounts of bamboo and compressed corn stubble used throughout the building. This failure should be a topic for much needed professional discussion in the future).

Ohio Forestry Association is managed by Offinger Management Company, a member of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), "Charter-Accredited" Association Management Company member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and a member of the Association Management Company Institute (AMC Institute). www.Offinger.com

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