Posted By John Dorka,
Monday, July 9, 2012
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Weekly News 7/9/12
Due to the Fourth of July holiday and problems with the extensive power outages, there was no weekly report sent out last week. This report contains highlights from the last two weeks.
In this issue:
- Jim Bishop to ODNR - It was announced recently that Jim Bishop, current Past President of the OFA Board and a forester with the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District will take a new job with the ODNR, Division of Mineral Resources Management. He will become the Deputy Chief in charge of the Abandoned Mine Lands Program. He is expected to start sometime in July. We wish Jim good fortune with the new job. Jim has been a very active volunteer with OFA and offered special assistance with Paul Bunyan Show activities.
- OFA Sadly Loses Board Member - We sent a note to the membership that OFA lost one of its current Board members with the passing last week of Dick Sorg, a Tree Farm representative. Dick lost his life to an apparent lighting strike at his home in Perry County. Here is a very nice article about Dick from the July 6 Zanesville Times Recorder. Rest in peace, Dick. We’ll miss you.
- Logging Road Issue - Here is a news release from the Pacific Legal Foundation on the recent decision by the US Supreme Court to review the case involving the decision by the Ninth Circuit Court to require NPDES permits on logging roads. The news release contains a link to the amicus brief that OFA became a party to when the PLF first decided to file on the case. It will now be interesting to see how the Supreme Court rules on this issue. Recently the EPA had already indicated it will not require NPDES permits in the future for logging roads. However, it also had filed a notice of intent (NOI) to review the nationwide program as it relates to logging roads for possible changes to the rules. OFA filed comments in regard to that NOI. Some national forestry groups are already announcing that they believe EPA should suspend the NOI and any further efforts to change rules until after the Supreme Court rules on the issue. Here is another Associated Press article from Oregon further discussion the court case.
- PUCO Approves a "Deferred” Capacity Charge Mechanism for AEP - The PUCO, in the capacity charge case with AEP, ordered the utility to charge competitors low market prices for capacity, but devised a mechanism to allow the company to recover costs in the future. This decision is only part of a larger electric security plan (ESP) that is still pending before the PUCO. The details of how exactly the "cost-based recovery mechanism” will work will be sorted out when the rules for the broader plan are approved. OFA remains concerned with the AEP ESP case still pending before PUCO and continues to work through the Construction Materials Energy Coalition to make PUCO and Ohio’s legislative leaders aware of the potential impact of higher rates on our members.
- Substitute SB 224 Signed - This past week, Governor Kasich signed into law Sub SB 224 that changes the statute of limitations for actions on contracts and agreements in Ohio. The legislation is brief, but essentially changes to 8 years (from the previous 15) the amount of time an "action upon a specialty or an agreement, contract, or promise in writing shall be brought … after the cause of action accrued.”
- Farm Bill Action - The US House last week released its version of the 2012 Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (Farm Bill). In this document you can read a partial summary of the proposed actions, which cuts spending by $35 billion. A few of the significant highlights for forestry are that the overall Conservation Title is cut by $6 billion with some program consolidations (EQIP and WHIP) and eliminations (Forest Land Enhancement Program, Cooperative National Forest Products Marketing Program), the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program is strengthened through strategic direction, and the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) continues at funding of $75 million.
- US Appeals Court Upholds Proposed Greenhouse Gas Rules - The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld the US EPA proposed rules regulating greenhouse gases and opened the door for the agency to finalize sweeping regulations affecting vehicles, coal burning power plants and other industrial facilities. The decision will have far-reaching affects on US industries and particularly states heavily reliant on coal burning facilities. It is expected that new rules will be put in place limiting emissions from new vehicles as well as newly constructed power facilities. The National Association of Manufacturers expressed major concern over the ruling, indicating that the ruling will affect 6 million stationary sources, including 200,000 manufacturing facilities and 37,000 farms. You can read more in this article by Reuters.
- Emerald Ash Borer Found in 4 More Ohio Counties/DP&L Says Ash Borer Affected Power Outages - Here is a news release from the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) which indicates that Emerald Ash Borer has been found in Belmont, Crawford, Knox, and Madison Counties. ODA had already lifted the state quarantine for EAB last year because it was already so widespread throughout Ohio, even though it had not been found in every county. These finds do not change the status of the quarantine. ODA advises that ash products may be moved throughout Ohio, but also reminds everyone that there remains a federal quarantine of Ohio which limits the movement of ash products outside of the designated quarantine area. See this map for the current Emerald Ash Borer quarantine area. In other news, Dayton Power and Light indicated that it believes the Emerald Ash Borer contributed greatly to power outages from the most recent heavy storms that hit Ohio. An article from the Dayton Daily News talks about how dead and dying trees affected by the borer caused much a significant part of the problem in southwest Ohio from the June 29 storm.
- OSU Extension Grant for Logger Needs Assessment - Dr. Eric McConnell, Forest Operations and Products Specialist with OSU Extension, advised OFA that he was successful in getting approved for a grant to complete a logger survey and needs assessment for Ohio’s logging industry. The survey will be completed in cooperation with the OSU South Centers Small Business Development Center. The survey will attempt to answer key questions on business challenges and barriers affecting the logging community in the state and, with a particular emphasis on trying to identify controllable factors. Most likely, a lot of work will be done through the Loggers Chapters to assist in survey response.
- OSU Thompson Library Staff Consider Forest Products Education Opportunities - OFA and the Ohio Tree Farm Committee met with staff from the OSU Thompson Library to discuss mutual opportunities for promoting the use of wood in the library renovation, highlighted at the 2011 Annual Meeting OWIN Tour. Lisa Carter, Assoc. Director for Special Collections with Thompson Library met with John Dorka and Jim Pry and agreed that there were very good opportunities to promote the use of the wood in the projects. Several ideas were discussed including creating a display, brochure, and website all of which could be used by visitors to learn more about the role of the forests, the wood, and the manufacturing in the ultimate project completion. The Division of Forestry, with the wood coming from state forest land, has indicated an interested in supporting the project. We will work on getting grant funding for the project.
- Fracking in State Forests - The Columbus Dispatch carried an interesting article that talks about the potential financial windfall that ODNR may receive from leasing mineral rights on some of its state forests and parks. The article keys in on Beaver Creek State Forest as an example of what may be available from shale gas exploration on the forest. ODNR has just over 1500 acres of mineral rights for lease on the forest. Using a couple possible payment scenarios, the Dispatch estimates that ODNR could receive between $2 million and $5 million in signing bonuses alone, not including royalty payments. There are 14 state forests and parks that offer potential leasing opportunities, with signing bonuses totaling as much as $183 million.
- SFI and BSA Form Partnership - The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) this week announced that it is partnering with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to promote forestry education and outreach. SFI has asked State Implementation Committees (SIC) to work with BSA affiliates in each state on mutual education opportunities. OFA has reached out to the BSA to let them know that the Ohio’s SIC and the association are interested in working together in Ohio.
- Wayne National Forest to Hold Oil and Gas Open House - Those who may be interested in learning more about shale gas drilling in Ohio in general can visit an open house at the Wayne National Forest Headquarters on Rt. 33 between Athens and Nelsonville on July 11 from 3-6 PM. Although designed to offer information on drilling on National Forests, the open house will include general information on the permitting process as well as hydraulic fracturing. Here is a news release on the event.
- Cellulose is Most Abundant Polymer on Earth - An interesting article on the Science Daily website talks about amazing future opportunities for cellulose, nature’s most abundant chemical polymer, and nanotechnology. As the article quickly points out, scientists have created a material from plant cellulose so light and buoyant that they can make a boat weighing one pound that could carry 1,000 pounds. Nanotechnology allows scientists to engineer cellulose into new products that offer limitless possibilities, such as structural materials similar to metal, spun fibers, and film. The new materials are from a sustainable and renewable source (sounds familiar) and are non-petroleum based.
- Paper, Print, and the Environment - Here is an article from the Wall Street Journal Market Watch that points out the value of paper as an environmentally friendly product. It provides key facts on the use of wood fiber in the production of paper and points out that wood is recyclable and forests are renewable. Finally it points out that to help with our environmental concerns, we should use more wood, not less.
- Woodland Stewards Program – "What’s That Wood?” Workshop. On July 27, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, OSU Extension Specialist Dr. Eric McConnell is hosting a "What’s That Wood?” workshop at the OSU Waterman Farm, Wittmeyer Conference Room. The workshop will explore the skills needed to ID various woods and wood characteristics. It will also include discussion on the historical and current benefits of wood. There is a $35 registration fee with the opportunity to purchase a wood kit for an additional $25. Class size is limited to 30. For more information, call 614-688-3421 or go to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- OWIN Summer Meeting, July 25-26, Marietta. Registration materials have been mailed to all members. Come join us in Marietta for another time to get together, network, and meet old friends. Once again, a highlight of the meeting will be a reception on the Valley Gem sternwheeler. The OWIN Tour will be a little different with a trip to see how large volumes of wood chips are used to make metal alloys at the Globe Metallurgical mill in Beverly. If you go on the tour, come prepared with safety equipment (hard hat and goggles) as well as long pants and no open-toed shoes. You can register on-line if you want.
- 4-Day Lumber Grading Short Course (August 20-23) / 1-Day Walnut Grading Short Course (August 24), Yoder Lumber Buckhorn Mill. Due to demand for the course in early summer, we are holding a second course late summer, with the addition of a 1-day Walnut Grading Course immediately following the 4-day course. You can attend both or either one. Register here.
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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