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Weeikly News 7.16.12

Posted By Gayla Fleming, Monday, July 16, 2012
Ohio Forestry Association

Weekly News 7/16/12

In this issue:

Governor Kasich Pushing Oil and Gas Severance Tax With Farmers

News on AEP Rate Case

Southern Ohio Logger Chapter

Ohio Forestry Association Foundation

Weyerhaeuser Prefers ATFS Certified Wood

State Foresters Receive SFI Grant to Measure Water Quality Successes

Ohio Small Businesses With Storm Damage

ATFS Steward – New American Tree Farm System Member Category

Leadership Conference for Promoting Locally-Made US Wood Products

Free Software Allows Comparing Costs of Pellet Boilers With Natural
Gas and Heating Oil

Buying American Catching on With Wood Furniture Consumers

Two Sides Says Going Paperless May Not be Better for Environment

ECOFA August Newsletter

Summer Meeting and OWIN Tour, July 25-26, Marietta

  • Governor Kasich Pushing Oil and Gas Severance Tax With Farmers - Last week, Governor Kasich was once again pushing for a new severance tax formula on oil and gas in Ohio, and he picked up the endorsement of former long-time Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Fred Daily for the increase. He is particularly looking for an endorsement from the Ohio Farm Bureau which has yet to do so. The Governor is arguing that the new tax structure with the reduction in state income taxes will be a benefit for farmers. You’ll remember that OFA was asked for an endorsement but the OFA Board elected to take no position on the proposal. The proposal calls for a 1% severance tax on gas production from horizontal wells in the deep formations, rather than the current $.03 per million cubic feet. It would also eliminate the severance tax on smaller conventional vertical wells. Oil and natural gas liquids would be taxed at 1.5% the first year, then going to 4%. Most conventional vertical wells are low volume and expected tax to drop to zero. Reaction to the proposal has been mixed with expected opposition from the Ohio Oil and Gas Association. The Farm Bureau indicates it is in the process of getting information from all parties and is putting the issue in the hand of the members.
  • News on AEP Rate Case - Recently, PUCO ruled on the AEP capacity charge case which settled for the moment the capacity cost concerning the utility. However, still pending is the rate case that has been in limbo since PUCO first approved the AEP Electric Security Plan last year and then rescinded its approval earlier in 2012. Last week PUCO hosted a hearing with AEP and other interested parties. AEP is still proposing a Rate Stabilization Rider (RSR) of $2.75 per megawatt hour non-bypassable charge to recover more costs for the company. As expected AEP argued for the RSR on its need to stabilize company financing, which would include a "reasonable profit” according to a company spokesman. Contrarily, other interests including the Ohio Energy Group and the Industrial Energy Users of Ohio argued that AEP will realize excessive profits and the RSR will negate the benefits of the ruling on the capacity charge case. PUCO is expected to rule on the proposal by August.
  • Southern Ohio Logger Chapter - I visited the Southern Ohio Loggers’ Chapter meeting last week and had the chance to discuss several issues OFA is working on, particularly affecting loggers. Chapter Chairman John Spriggs ran a good meeting with excellent discussion. Jeff Hoselton from Glatfelter provided a BMP refresher for re-certification and did an outstanding job.
  • Ohio Forestry Association Foundation - Here is a report of the OFA Foundation on activities during 2012. The report briefly explains the Foundation and its relationship to OFA. The OFA Foundation is the fund-raising arm of OFA and is a separate tax-exempt non-profit that administers and manages key programs including the E. Burns Miller Memorial Scholarship and the Forestry and Wildlife Conservation Camp. It also is a sponsor of the Ohio Tree Farm Committee and supports other activities like the Forest Heritage Festival and the Lumbermen’s Outing.
  • Weyerhaeuser Prefers ATFS Certified Wood - This past week, Weyerhaeuser, one of the world’s largest forest products companies, announced a supply-chain preference for wood sourced from American Tree Farm System certified woodlands. You can read a news release from the ATFS in which Tom Martin, President and CEO of the American Forest Foundation, which oversees the ATFS, praises Weyerhaeuser for its wood-supply policy, which includes a number of measures through which the company will create the ATFS certified wood preference. Along this line a recent report commissioned by the Southern Group of State Foresters concludes that "forest certification is here to stay.” Although wood from certified lands is still not in high demand in the US, the study noted that forest products markets in different parts of the world, particularly Europe, are showing stronger preference for certified wood. Interestingly, the demand is showing up in preference for certified wood for pellets and bio-electricity markets. At the moment, the US has approximately 100 million acres of wood certified under one of the 3 main certifying programs including ATFS, SFI, and FSC. That is approximately 13% of US woodlands, or 1 in 8 acres.
  • State Foresters Receive SFI Grant to Measure Water Quality Successes - The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) announced last week that it had awarded the National Association of State Foresters a $40,000 grant to assess how well BMPs are protecting US water sources. The timing of this grant is especially important given the recent decision by the US Supreme Court to review the NEDC v. Brown decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Ninth Circuit decision indicated that NPDES stormwater permits are necessary for logging jobs. A large coalition of organizations opposed to the decision, including OFA, maintain that current BMP approaches that have been used for more than 30 years have been effective at controlling erosion from logging roads. The SFI grant and assessment will provide valuable information concerning this issue.

  • Ohio Small Businesses With Storm Damage - The OSU Business Development Office is trying to get information from Ohio small businesses which may have been impacted by the June 29 storms. Governor Kasich will request assistance from the Small Business Administration but must certify the extent of the damage. If your company was affected in any way, you are asked to fill out a survey that provides information on the damage. Here are 4 documents, including a one-page worksheet, that you can use to provide information. Included are instructions on how to fill out the worksheet and where to send it when completed.
  • ATFS Steward – New American Tree Farm System Member Category - The American Tree Farm System (ATFS) announced that it has chosen a new name for members who are taking steps to carefully manage their woodlands but opt out of managing their land to the AFTS Certification standard. The ATFS Steward name was chosen based on a survey of leadership members and partners.

  • Leadership Conference for Promoting Locally-Made US Wood Products - The NC State Wood Products Extension Service and the US Forest Service Wood Education and Resource Center (WERC) are hosting a 1-day seminar on August 2, 2012 in Princeton, WV titled Leadership Conference for Promoting Locally Made US Wood Products. The event sponsors indicate they are brining in the best minds in the industry to discuss how to increase sales of US made wood products from US hardwoods. They advise the conference is intended for representatives from primary and secondary wood manufacturers, trade and non-profit associations, public forestry agencies, economic development, and universities. The registration fee is $35 which includes a buffet lunch. Here is a conference brochure with registration information.
  • Free Software Allows Comparing Costs of Pellet Boilers With Natural Gas and Heating Oil - Here is an article from Biomass Magazine that mentions FutureMetrics, Inc. has released a life-cycle cost analysis that compares wood pellet boilers to natural gas and heating oil boilers. The software is free and downloadable. With the shale gas boom in Ohio, at first glance it seems hard to think that wood pellets will compete. But at least one other projection study has indicated that wood pellets will be cheaper than natural gas in the next 5-8 years. We’ll see. At the least, it may be interesting to take a look at the analysis tool, which you can find here.
  • Buying American Catching on With Wood Furniture Consumers - In the recent issue of the Hardwood Market Report, there was an article about the increasing amount of cased good furniture production that is shifting back to US manufacturers from overseas production, referred to as "reshoring”. This is coming from a clear preference by US consumers to buy "made in America.” This preference is not just occurring with residential furniture. It is also being seen restaurant and other commercial furniture and furnishings. The central Appalachian region is particularly benefitting from expansions at furniture manufacturing plants and other wood manufacturing facilities.
  • Two Sides Says Going Paperless May Not be Better for Environment - Two Sides is an initiative of companies from the Graphic Communication Value Chain including forestry, pulp, paper, inks and chemicals, pre-press, press, finishing, publishing, and printing, and includes members from the US, Europe, and Australia. Its goal is to promote the responsible production and use of print and paper and dispel the common environmental misconceptions about using paper. Two Sides has announced a nationwide initiative to develop and implement best practices for environmental marketing claims for paper and print. We all know that there are often misleading and factually incorrect claims made about the use of paper and its impact on the environment, especially trees and forests. Two Sides’ intent is to help American companies correctly market the sustainability of our forests and the products we get from them. You can read more here about the initiative.
  • ECOFA August Newsletter - Here is the August Newsletter of the East Central Ohio Forestry Association (ECOFA). The newsletter contains information on the last Board and General meeting with a presentation from Scott Hill of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy and news on upcoming workshops and seminars. It should be noted that the ECOFA Board voted to donate an additional $1,100 to the OFA Forestry and Wildlife Conservation Camp as camp numbers were down this year (75) and the camp was not able to meet break-even costs. Many thanks to ECOFA for this generous donation, as well as previous donations for sponsorships to the camp.
  • Summer Meeting and OWIN Tour, July 25-26, Marietta - The summer meeting with OWIN Tour and reception, golf outing and clay shoot is just around the corner. It is not too late to sign up and you can do so on-line at the OFA website. We hope everyone can make it. As a reminder, the Tour will be at Globe Metallurgical in Beverly. You need to sign up to ensure a spot on the bus from Marietta. Those attending are reminded to bring safety gear including hardhats and goggles. Attendees also need to wear long pants and cannot have open-toed shoes. Those wishing to sponsor for the meeting including golf holes and sporting clay stations can still do. See you there!

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).

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