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Weekly News 4.16.12

Posted By John Dorka, Monday, April 16, 2012

Weekly News 4.16.12

  • Governor Kasich Proposal for an Increased Severance Tax on Oil and Gas. I had reported that Governor Kasich’s office had asked OFA to consider supporting the proposal to raise the severance tax on oil and gas in Ohio. To learn more about the proposal, last week a small group of Board members visited with the Scott Milburn, Director of Communications for Governor Kasich, who explained the proposal at length and gave the members a chance to ask questions. The group listened to the proposal and is now in the process of giving recommendations to the OFA Board for final action. As a quick summary, the proposal involves raising the severance tax on oil and gas and using 100% of the revenue to offset Ohio income taxes across the board for individuals in all tax brackets. The amount of the tax break will vary from year to year depending on revenues generated. We were advised that according to initial projections, the initial offset per taxpayer is expected to be about 5%. Beyond the tax break to individuals, there appeared to be no specific forestry benefits to OFA members individually or to OFA as an organization.
  • Federal Truck Weight News. The Coalition for Transportation Productivity (CTP) provided a little update on the status of federal truck weight reform legislation. In spite of good efforts to get the reform included in the Highway Reauthorization Bill, the best that was accomplished was to get a study of the issue included in the House and Senate versions of the Bill. The Highway Reauthorization Bill, however, remains in limbo as the House passed a version of a 5-year reauthorization while the Senate passed a 2-year version. CTP will work hard to make sure that the study is completed well before the next reauthorization bill comes up again, to make sure the issue stays in the forefront of Congressional action.
  • BWC News. Here is a news release from CCI, Inc., the service provider for the OFA Group Safety Program with BWC, talking about some changes that BWC has made to its alternative rating programs. There are a number of changes involving injury prevention, loss control, and return-to-work efforts, collectively called Destination Excellence. Some details of the program are included in the news release. But the net effect of all of them is that premium rates could be slashed up to 59% total, where the maximum group rate reduction is 53% and the new added incentives could add an additional 6% reduction.
  • New FRA Executive Director Hired. The Forest Resource Association (FRA) announced that it has hired a new Executive Director to replace Richard Lewis who is retiring on July 2, 2012. FRA has hired Deb Hawkinson, currently Executive Director with the Hardwood Federation. Ms. Hawkinson has an extensive background with the forest industry. Prior to working for the Hardwood Federation, she was with the American Forest & Paper Association for 7 years as the Director of Issues Management, and before that, she worked for Weyerhaeuser for 14 years in the Federal Affairs Office. A news release on the announcement can be found here.
  • Lumbermen’s Benevolent Fund Created Through Charm Share ‘N Care. OFA has learned that the Charm Share ‘N Care has created a Lumbermen’s Benevolent Fund to aid and assist local families who make their living in the lumber industry and have hit with tragedies. The fund is currently working to raise money for the families of Laverne Raber and Daniel Raber. Laverne was an employee with Rayson Logging and lost his life in a logging accident on March 20. Dan Raber passed away after a long battle with cancer on April 1. Here is a document explaining the fund and those involved with its development. There is also information on how to direct contributions. The OFA Lumbermen’s Outing, a fundraising golf outing and sporting clay shoot which will be held in early September this year, will raise funds on behalf of the Lumbermen’s Benevolent Fund. Details on the outing are being worked on and will be shared as soon as they are finalized.
  • Steve Brown Update. Steve Brown, Director of Wood Supply at Glatfelter continues to improve following his serious accident in March. Steve continues with full days of physical therapy at Dodd Hall at the OSU Medical Center. He is currently walking with the help of a walker, and if things continue well, he is scheduled to be released on April 19. In the meantime, Steve is asking that those wishing to visit with him wait until he returns to Chillicothe. Betsy Davidson, Executive Assistant in the Woodlands Department, who has graciously provided periodic updates on Steve, advises that Steve continues to "direct our department from his hospital bed.”
  • Forest Business Network Opinion Piece on Working Forests. I ran across a very good and thought provoking presentation on the importance of working forests in the 21st century given to the Allegheny Society of American Foresters in February. You can read the entire presentation on the Forest Business Network website. It will take a little while to read, but I think the presenter, Amos Eno, covers a lot of ground and gives some compelling arguments on messages and tactics of the forestry industry and community in the 21st century to promote the vast array of values of working forests. Mr. Eno is President and Executive Director of Resources First Group, a consulting firm that specializes in private sector solutions for conservation and one he describes in the presentation as "pro-business, free market, and pro-working forest.” I think this is well worth your time to read if you have interest. A couple of his messages are that in the future the value of working forests must be marketed to people in metro areas and in particular women, and that in the next decade there will be a massive shift in ownership of forest lands in the US, with which we need strategies to insure that the current mass of working forests stay as such. Government funding for forest programs is drying up and will continue. We need to work on the private sector funding and new tax and conservation incentives to conserve these forests.
  • ECOFA May Newsletter. Here is the May Newsletter from the East Central Ohio Forestry Association. The report covers information on the recent Board and General Meeting during which the speaker was Dan Ogonek from Ogonek Hardwoods in Barberton, the ECOFA Annual Banquet on May 2, and upcoming workshops and conferences including a visit to the Glenn & Ellen Waggy Tree Farm as part of the "Visit a Member’s Tree Farm” series tours.
  • Life Cycle Assessment for Wood Guard Rail Posts vs. Metal. I thought this note was interesting. The Treated Wood Council commissioned a Life Cycle Assessment of the environmental value of wood vs. steel guard rail posts. The following is a brief summary statement of the results: This study uses a life cycle inventory (LCI) to catalogue the input and output data from guard rail post manufacture, 21 service life, and disposition, and a life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) to evaluate greenhouse gas (GHG) 22 emissions, fossil fuel and water use, and emissions with the potential to cause acidification, smog, ecotoxicity, and 23 eutrophication. Comparisons of guard rail post products are made at a functional unit of one post per year of service. This life cycle assessment (LCA) finds that the manufacture, use, and disposition of CCA-treated wood guard rails offers lower fossil fuel use and lower anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, net GHG emissions, acidification, smog potential, and ecotoxicity environmental impacts than impact indicator values for galvanized steel posts, while water use and eutrophication impact indicator values for CCA-treated guard rail posts are greater than impact indicator values for galvanized steel guard rail posts.
  • Wood Gas Truck Video. This one is just for fun, or maybe a little serious for those out there who like to pay more attention to "alternative” fuels. It shows how a pick-up truck is fueled by wood gases produced from a burner in the back of the truck. In the video, wood chips are burned but the designer advises other forms of biomass can be mixed with the wood. It’s a 20 minute video.

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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