Posted By John Dorka,
Monday, November 19, 2012
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Weekly News 11.19.12
In this Issue:
- In the Senate - The Ohio Senate passed a bill (HB 365) unanimously to decrease the
federal tax depreciation add-back for Ohio income tax purposes for companies
that increase payroll by 10%. The measure is expected to be
revenue-neutral because any foregone tax expected for the state is
expected to be offset by increased payroll taxes and the benefits of
increased economic activity. The bill will go directly to the
governor for signature. The Senate also passed a resolution
unanimously to recognize the importance of county fairs and urged
continued state support for the events. Finally Senate President
Niehaus is expected to have a call for official Senate leadership
elections on November 28.
- Energy Efficiency Standards - FirstEnergy is asking Ohio lawmakers to freeze the energy
efficiency standards at current levels. The current standards
according to the most recent Energy Bill (SB 221, 127th General Assembly, 2008) are that Ohio’s
benchmarks gradually increase through 2025 to 22% cumulative reduction
below the baseline level established at the time of the bill. The
current efficiency level after 4 years is 2.3% cumulative
reduction. As it would be expected, environmental groups are
strongly opposed to the idea. FirstEnergy maintains that as the
standards become more aggressive, there will be considerable costs being
added to all users’ electric bills. No measure has been suggested
for legislation at this point. FirstEnergy is proposing discussions
since so much has changed in energy markets and demand since the energy
bill was passed going on five years ago.
- HR 6439, Keep the Forest
in the Family Act – Support is needed from OFA members in Cong. Tiberi’s
District. The estate tax issue is
one of a number of tax issues that Congress will be facing in the days
ahead. Many of you know that currently (at least through December
of this year), forest land owners enjoy a favorable estate tax formula
(35% tax on estates valued over $5 million) that helps family forest
owners to keep their woodlands in forest. However, the formula is
set to expire at the end of the year, at which time, unless action is
taken, estate taxes will revert to 2001 levels, which goes to 55% on
estates valued at $1 million or more. The Keep the Forest in the Family Act (HR 6439) would change
that. You can read
the text of the legislation here, which is fairly short. Here
is a list of the sponsors. Original bill sponsors are Cong.
Diane Black (R-TN) and Cong. Mike Michaud (D-ME), and since introduction,
another 19 Congressman have become co-sponsors. However, none of
them are from Ohio.
Cong. Pat Tiberi (R-OH) from the 12th District in central Ohio is Ohio’s
lone representative on the House Committee on Ways and Means, which will
first hear the bill. It would help to get Cong. Tiberi as a
co-sponsor. OFA has weighed in with Cong. Tiberi, but it would help
if any other OFA member in Cong. Tiberi’s district could do the
same. You can do so by going to the American
Tree Farm System website and submitting a letter on-line. You
can very easily and simply fill in the on-line letter and submit as it
is, or change to your needs if you wish to. This is an important
issue for all of us in forestry.
- Congress May Act on "Forest
Roads” Legislation – Help is Needed. The Forest Resource Association is reporting that it is hearing that
Congress may take action on the Silviculture Regulatory Consistency Act
(S 1369, HR 2541) during the lame duck session, possibly in
December. FRA is urging forest products industry people to contact
Representatives and Senators to let them know how important this issue
and legislation is to us. To assist with that, they have created an
letter to Congress. Just like the estate tax letter, you can
fill in your name and contact information and send the letter already
written or modify it if you wish. Here is a version
of the letter OFA sent to Senators Portman and Brown and Representative
However, we elected to send the electronic version as those get to the
respective offices much quicker than letters sent via hard mail. I
suggest sending on-line versions if you can. Your letter will be
directed to Ohio’s
Senators and to your respective Congressman or Congresswoman.
- Is a Carbon Tax
in the Offing? As Congress faces the budget challenges and looks at revenue and cost
issues, re-working the tax code has become part of the discussion.
from RenewableEnergyWorld.com indicates that industry interests who
have previously fought cap and trade legislation may now be talking about
a carbon tax as a preferable alternative to additional regulation,
particularly as efforts to simplify the tax code and increase revenues
are getting more play.
- Credit Crisis Request for Letters from FRA. The Forest Resource Association (FRA) has
identified the access to credit as a critical issue for the forest
products industry, especially for logging contractors. Because of
that, FRA will be working with the Credit Union National Association in
late November on Capitol Hill to advocate for liberalizing the rules that
currently limit credit unions to lend to small businesses. They
will be advocating for The Credit Union Small Business Jobs Bill (S 2231
and HR 1418). The bill would enable federal credit unions to
increase the current 12.25% cap to 27% on total assets credit unions may
lend to small businesses. Here is an FRA position paper
on this issue. OFA sent a notice to our logging contactor and
manufacturer members asking them to write a letter to their Congressman
if they have experienced any issues with acquiring loans.
- USDOT to Audit CSA Effectiveness. Based on a request from Cong. Jimmy Duncan
(R-Tennessee), Chairman of the House Transportation Subcommittee on
Highways and Transit, the US Department of Transportation’s Inspector
General has agreed to conduct an audit of the effectiveness of the
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Compliance, Safety,
and Accountability (CSA) Program relating to commercial motor
carriers. At a September hearing of the committee, a number of
issues were raised about the lack of adequate safety data, inappropriate weighting
of violations, and other scoring problems with the revised CSA program
rules which are leading to inappropriately scoring performance among
- Biomass Magazine Directory Available -Biomass
Magazine announced that it has a new on-line directory available for
those companies interested in connecting with the biomass industry.
The 2013 Online Biomass
Industry Directory is a comprehensive list of industry suppliers,
producers, researchers, and government agencies. The list currently
contains 450 biomass-related companies and is expected to continue growing
as more companies are added. A printed version will be available as
soon as it is printed and 5,000 copies will be distributed free to all
current subscribers of Biomass
- National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) Priorities
to Include Logging Safety Actions - Two federal agencies (US Department of Health & Human Services and the
National Institutes for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) of the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) announced in the federal
register last week that it will hold a public meeting on January 31, 2013
to update its NORA priorities for a number of industry sectors including manufacturing
and forestry. The Manufacturing Agenda includes worker exposure
issues which could affect sawmills and wood manufacturing
facilities. The Forestry Agenda includes logging safety
can find the NORA relating to Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing here.
The agenda is long, but you may want to focus on pages 51 through 59,
which deal with Logging Safety and Forestry Health action goals. A
quick read shows that statistics on logging and forestry accidents are not
well reported and accumulated and many action items are focused on
improving the reporting system. OFA will keep an eye on this to see
what may come of the review.
- Forest Carbon Credit Price Nearly Doubled in 2011 - In spite of uncertainties that have surrounded
the carbon credit markets for some time, it appears that interest in
forest carbon continues. According to an Ecosystem Marketplace
survey and report, the price of a ton of carbon in 2011 went from
$5.50/ton to $9.20/ton. The report indicates that there are 45 million
acres of forest carbon projects in 40 countries so far. A couple
years ago, the carbon credit market in the US took a hit when the Chicago
Climate Exchange closed, and it appeared that the carbon market was
heading nowhere. However, California
continued with carbon market efforts and these along with other
international actions have kept interest going. Here is an article
from pulpapernews.com that talks about the survey results. Here
is more on the other side of the issue. According
to this article, the California Chamber of Commerce (CoC) is filing a
lawsuit against California’s
cap-and-trade program challenging its validity. The CoC believes
does not have authority to take this action, especially selling permits to
raise revenue for the state.
- The Ethics of Forest
Certification: When Unintended Consequences Result - Here is an editorial
piece from the National Legal and Policy Center
written about forest certification programs and the unintended
consequences that can result from them, according to the author. In
additional news on "green” building, Turner Construction, a leading
general builder, released the Green
Building Market Barometer, a biennial survey of companies involved in
construction, design, architecture, development, etc. about their
attitudes and commitment to "green” building. A total of 718
companies responded. A vast majority (90%) said they were very
committed to green building; however a declining percentage (48% down from
53%) indicated a commitment to LEED. Citing increased costs and
time, companies are less interested in LEED standards and are more
knowledgeable about building sustainably. They don’t feel the need
to use certification systems as a checklist. Click on the link to
read the article.
- Industry Reports- Here are links to a few reports that may be of interest to you:
on the Housing Market (September information). This report is
produced by Urs Buehlmann,
Virginia Tech Department of
Wood Science and Forest Products and Delton Alderman, USFS, Northern
Research Station. It is a power point and has 38 slides.
on Wood Markets by Don Deckard,
Minnesota DNR, Division of
Forestry. It is a very nice report with particular sections
highlighted in yellow. It is focused on northern US wood markets but contains
information of national interest.
Census Shows Wood Heat Continues to Rise in the US. Gives good
information on wood heat used by residential users in America.
Households using heat as a primary source rose 1.72% in 2011, continuing
a decade-long growth spurt. Data for Ohio, however, shows a decline.
- Forests of
the Northern United States. Produced by the US Forest Service,
this is a compilation of forest data on the 20 northern/northeastern
states. Much information is shown by state and you can see how Ohio compares to
- CSAW Training in Northwest Ohio- On Friday and
Saturday, November 9 and 10, OFA held two CSAW Level 1 chainsaw training
classes at Maumee State Forest
in northwest Ohio.
The classes were arranged to encourage members of the newly formed Northwest
Ohio Woodland Owners Association to get safety training. In addition, a
number of employees from the tree care industry in that part of the state
participated in the classes. A combined total of 24 attended the classes
which were taught by CSAW instructor Brock Couture.
- ECOFA December Newsletter- Here the December 2012 Newsletter for the East Central Ohio Forestry Association.
- Upcoming Events
- 2013 OFA Annual Meeting - March 6-7, 2013 - Sheraton Columbus Hotel at Capitol Square, Columbus, Ohio.
- Ohio Forestry and Wildlife
Conservation Camp - Leesville Lake, Carrollton, Ohio. Please share the
Camp dates and information with any friends or family that have high
school age children. If you are interested in sponsoring a student,
please contact Gayla at 888-388-7337 or Gayla@OhioForest.org.
Sponsorships are 100% tax deductible!
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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