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Weekly News 8/13/12

Posted By Gayla Fleming, Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Ohio Forestry 

Weekly News 8/13/12


In this issue:
OFA-BWC Group Rating Safety Accountability
              BWC Awards Safety Intervention Grants to 2 Ohio Wood Products Companies
              PUCO Approves AEP Collection of Fuel Costs
              PUCO Decision on AEP Rate Plan
              National Council of Forestry Association Executives (NCFAE) Meeting
              Ohio House 21st Century Manufacturing Task Force
              American Tree Farm System (ATFS) Information
              Job Announcements
              Upcoming Events

  • OFA – BWC Group Rating Safety Accountability - Here is a letter to employers participating in OFA’s BWC Group Rating Safety Program. The letter outlines the responsibilities of the employer, OFA, the third-party administrator (CCI), and BWC with administering the program. All employers participating in the program are encouraged to review the letter. In addition, here is a release from Risk Control 360, partner with CCI on safety training and promotion highlighting heat risks we have experienced this year. It describes the common heat injuries and outlines actions that we can take to deal with the concerns. This is beneficial for all who have employees but also for all of us dealing with summer heat concerns.
  • BWC Awards Safety Intervention Grants to 2 Ohio Wood Products Companies - Last week, the Ohio BWC announced that it had awarded $206,000 in safety intervention grants to 10 Ohio companies in June. Two of the 10 were wood products companies. J. McCoy Lumber in Adams County received $36,637.84 to purchase roller conveyors and pallet building machines to reduce the risk of injuries from repetitive motions. Packard Forest Products in Franklin County received a $26,166.66 grant for an automated tarp system to reduce risk of injuries in material handling. Through the Safety Intervention Grant program, Ohio companies are eligible for up to $40,000 in grant funding. The company must match the grant amount on a 1:2 basis, providing up to $20,000. You can read a news release on the announcement and find out more on the grants at the BWC website.

  • PUCO Approves AEP Collection of Fuel Costs - Last week, PUCO approved the AEP plan to begin collection fuel cost incurred from 2009-2011. Those costs had previously been deferred in the company’s 2009 electric security plan. Costs will be collected on a "non-bypassable basis” through 2018 which means all customers will pay the costs regardless of whether they receive generation from a competitive supplier. The new rates will be effective after completion of the company's pending ESP case, and customer will be notified of changes through a bill message or insert within 30 days of the effective date. PUCO maintains that the fuel cost recovery will take place over a longer period lessening the impact to customers.
  • PUCO Decision on AEP Rate Plan - The anxiously-awaited decision by PUCO on the modified AEP Electric Security Plan finally came this past week (Columbus Dispatch article). The plan which will transition AEP to the competitive market freezes base electricity generation rates, but allows several riders for fuel recovery, distribution costs, and advanced energy that will increase user rates. The approved plan will result in rate increases of 5-7% the first year for most businesses and residences, with no more than total increase of 12% over the 3-year plan period. Customers will have the chance to shop for new rates almost immediately. OFA has been working with the Construction Materials Energy Coalition to register our concerns with PUCO and urge changes to the AEP plan. OFA has also been working on a new program that will offer members, on a voluntary and no-fee basis, individual assistance with securing lower electricity rates. Details are being hammered out now and no commitments have yet been made. However, the program appears to have the potential to offer reasonable member savings on electricity rates. OFA will also be investigating similar member opportunities for natural gas usage.
  • National Council of Forestry Association Executives (NCFAE) Meeting - I had the chance to attend the meeting of my counterparts from other state and national forestry associations throughout the country on August 1 and 2 in Colorado. It is the one meeting I attend each year for such purposes. It is a great place to get updates on state and national legislative and policy issues as well as to learn new ideas on how to better serve the association. Here are notes from the meeting to this report, and included information that might be helpful to the membership. I also picked up a number of ideas to help with association administration that I will be working to put into play. It was especially helpful getting insights on what other associations are doing with their legislative agenda.
  • Ohio House 21st Century Manufacturing Task Force - Several weeks ago I reported that the Ohio House of Representatives had called together a 21st Century Manufacturing Task Force comprised of a bipartisan mix of 9 House members to conduct a series of public forums and workshops around Ohio. The purpose was to engage Ohio manufacturers to identify opportunities and challenges for Ohio manufacturing in the future. The Task Force would then make recommendations to the Speaker of the House for possible future legislative action. The first meeting took place this past week on August 9 in Canton at the Timken Company. Here is an article that explains the purpose of the Task Force and here is a newspaper article that highlights the results of the first meeting. The schedule for upcoming sessions are September 27, Owens-Illinois (Maumee); October 11, Pentaflex (Springfield); October 18, DuPont (Circleville); and November 15, Worthington Industries (Columbus). The meetings are designed for the manufacturing community, public policy makers, and interested parties. If you are interested and want to weigh in on your thoughts to improve manufacturing in Ohio, I encourage you to attend. OFA will attend one or more sessions.
  • Asian Longhorned Beetle Update. USDA Director Tom Vilsack announced last week that there will be additional funds to attack the ALB problem in Clermont County (see news release). Almost $15 million additional dollars will be made available to assist tree inspection surveys in the area. You may recall that USDA recently found new areas of infestation outside of the current control and eradication zone. Ohio had also allocated an additional $2 million for ALB control following legislative approval in the mid-biennium review process that took place earlier this year. Contrary to actions with many other invasive pests, there have been successful control efforts in New York and Chicago stopping ALB. Unfortunately, the conditions in Clermont County are different than in those other locations, making eradication even more difficult. It will take years of work before knowing if eradication is accomplished.
  • Upcoming Events
    1. Lumber Grading and Walnut Grading Short Courses, August 20-24, 2012, Yoder Lumber Co., Millersburg (Buckhorn Mill). There are still a few spots remaining and time to register for these lumber grading courses.  You can register on-line at the OFA website. You can also call OFA at 614-497-9580 to register over the phone.
    3. Lumberman’s Outing, September 5, 2012, Orrville and Fredericksburg. Plan to attend the special fund raiser golf outing and clay shoot at the Pines Golf Course in Orrville and the Lost Bird Sporting Clays in Fredericksburg. All proceeds of this event will go toward the Lumberman’s Benevolent Fund with Charm Share ‘N Care for the special needs of the families of Dan Raber and Laverne Raber. You can register on-line or call OFA. Please plan to attend, sponsor for either event, or simply donate to the families.
    5. Tree Farm of the Year Tour, September 29, 2012, Deseret Tree Farm, Jackson, Ohio.
    7. Paul Bunyan Show, October 5-7, 2012, Guernsey County Fairgrounds.

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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