Posted By John Dorka,
Monday, October 21, 2013
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|OFA Members Walt & Donna Lange & Wayne Lashbrook
Recognized at Forest of Honor Ceremony|
members who have served on the OFA Board and been OFA Board Presidents were
recently recognized at a Forest of Honor Ceremony at Zaleski State Forest in
Vinton County. The Division of Forestry (DOF) has created a Forest of
Honor at the site of the old forest headquarters in Zaleski. For years
DOF has recognized individuals and groups who have made significant life-time
contributions to forestry and the forest industry in Ohio. The recipients
are the team of Walt and Donna Lange and Wayne Lashbrook. Those who have
been around OFA for a while know these people and all that they have done to
contribute to the promotion of forestry and the forest products industry. These people have contributed especially in the areas of conservation education
and there is little doubt that they are most deserving of this honor.
Wayne Lashbrook was OFA President in 2002 and Walt Lange served as President in
2009. On behalf of our entire association, we congratulate them for this
recognition and honor.
State Policy and Legislative News
SB 58 Reviewing State Green Energy
As the Ohio Senate is reviews SB 58 dealing with the
green energy standards established in 2008, groups are weighing in on the
impact to their industry. It appears that business groups are divided on
the proposals. The Ohio Manufacturers Association has taken the position
that the current energy legislation should be maintained. In testimony
before the Senate Public Utilities committee last week, a number of business
owners spoke against the current standards and that the Ohio requirement for
25% renewable and alternative energy sources by 2025 are raising costs for
business owners in Ohio. Particularly troubling to some business owners
is the current bill requires energy efficiency (EE) efforts but many businesses
are not allowed to capture the efficiencies of newly installed equipment that
do not meet the laws standards. Others argued that the law requires a
reduction in overall consumption by 2025 of 22%, yet the utilities have lower
rates for higher consumption, which is counterproductive. Many also worry
that the policy discourages business investment. Meanwhile, OMA is
arguing that the law should not be changed as it believes that energy costs are
coming down based on its studies of the current energy environment. OMA
also believes the proposed change contains too many "unjustified benefits” for
utilities and not enough protections for manufacturers who would end up with
higher electric rates. Also in favor of the proposed changes in SB 58 and
going against OMA are the Industrial Energy Users-Ohio and the Ohio Energy
Group. You can read an article
from the Columbus Dispatch on where the OMA stands on the issue.
Administration Seeks to Increase State
Medicaid Funding Through the Controlling Board
As has been discussed
and reported much in the news, the Kasich Administration intends to seek
approval for increased Medicaid Funding through the Ohio Controlling Board at
the next meeting on October 21. Governor Kasich has pushed for increasing
Medicaid funding for those Ohioans who earn up to 138% of the federal poverty
level. The administration indicated that it would go this route as the
legislature has not yet moved on changes to Medicaid, even though several bills
have been introduced. The request to the Controlling Board is to increase
Medicaid funding by $500 million in FY 2014 and $2 billion in FY 2015.
The Controlling Board has a Republican majority of the 7-member group and it is
not yet clear how the vote may go in next week’s session. One hundred
percent of the increased funding is supposed to come from the federal
government for the first 3 years of the expansion. After that, the state
will have to pick up a portion of the additional costs.
Ohio Seeks Limits on Phosphorus in Streams
To address the on-going toxic algae problem throughout Ohio, an OEPA
proposal currently under review by the US EPA would establish limits for
phosphorus and nitrogen in streams. If enacted, Ohio would be one of only
3 states to establish limits (Florida and Wisconsin also.) The
regulations would affect farms and sewage treatment facilities. Ohio’s
proposed standards would vary by watershed and the formula for each would
consider the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus in the water as well as the amount
of algae and aquatic wildlife. The Association of Ohio Wastewater
Management Agencies supports the approach but the Ohio Farm Bureau has not yet
taken a position and wants more information. You can read a Columbus
Dispatch article here.
Federal Legislative News
OFA Co-Signs Letter for Industry Support of
WoodWorks is currently a Canadian program that promotes
the use of wood in building construction. The letter of support requests
the US Forest Service to commit $1 million of FFY 2015 funds for the Forest
Service Forest Products Laboratory to work with the WoodWorks program.
This funding would match funding that the Canadian government has put into the
program to promote wood use in construction.
Healthy Forests Act (HR 1526) Passes House
The U.S. House of
Representatives passed HR 1526, Restoring Healthy Forests in late
September. The lead sponsor of the bill is Rep. Doc Hastings
(R-Washington), Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee. The
bill would require a number of things:
land managers must sell more than 6 billion board feet annually, which is twice
the current annual timber sale harvest (the high mark was 12.7 billion BF in
authority for "O&C Lands” (Oregon and California Revested Grantlands) to
state land trusts.
The bill passed largely along
party lines, although 17 Democrats voted for it including key Oregonians Rep.
Pete DeFazio and Rep. Kurt Schrader. Destructive wildfires and forest
pests along with high rural unemployment in the Pacific Northwest have helped
push the bill along. As expected, green groups have come out harsh against
the bill and there are reports that if passed through the Senate , the
President will veto it. It will be interesting to see what the Senate
does with the bill or something similar to it. If it should pass the
Senate, that would be a very strong statement about the current sad state of
federal forest land management.
There be Action on Moving the Farm Bill?
You may recall that the Farm
Bill never made it through Congress this year as the House and Senate passed
hugely different versions of the bill, most noted of which the House did not
pass any provisions for food stamps. The Farm Bill has to go to
conference committee to iron out differences and that in itself has been
elusive. During September the House passed a version of a Food Stamp
proposal which helped set the stage for a potential conference committee to
start working on differences. You may also recall that it was hoped a
couple key forestry issues would be addressed in this Farm Bill, including
elements of the Silviculture Regulatory Consistency Act (forest roads) and
eliminating the bias against wood products in the federal bio-preferred
House "Paper Caucus” Created
Under the leadership of Rep. Mike
Michaud (R-Maine) and Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wisconsin), a Congressional Paper
Caucus has been created and all House members have been invited to
participate. With the paper industry responsible for nearly 1.3 million
U.S. jobs, many in rural areas of the country, it would benefit all
Congressional members to be part of the caucus. OFA is contacting the
Ohio delegation asking them to be part of the Caucus.
2013 Tax Tips for Forest Landowners
The US Forest Service recently
issued its 2013 Tax Tips for Forestland Owners. You can easily access a
copy of the document on-line at the USFS
website. It is a short 2-page document dealing with timber sales,
timber management expenses, reforestation costs, and casualty and theft
losses. You can find out information on the correct tax forms to
use. There are also other documents and information relating to a host of
timber and forest landowner cost and revenue issues.
Forest Heritage Festival, October 18-19,
2013; Tuscarawas County Fairgrounds. See the OFA
website for more details.
Northwest Ohio Logger Chapters Charter
Meeting, October 22, 2013, Findlay, Ohio. This is the organization
meeting for the newly-forming Northwest Ohio Loggers Chapter. All loggers
who may be interested in becoming a Master Logger and joining the chapter are
welcome to attend. There will be drinks and food at 5:30 followed by a
meeting at 6 pm to discuss details. The meeting will be held at the ODNR
District Office in Findlay. See the OFA
website for more information.
Best Management Practices Training, October
24, 2013, Scioto Trail State Forest. See the OFA
website to register and get more information.
CSAW Level 1 Chainsaw Training, October 25,
2013, Scioto Trail State Forest. See the OFA
website to register.
4-Day Lumber Grading Short Course/1-Day
Walnut Grading Short Course, November 4-8, 2013, Taylor Lumber Co., McDermott,
Ohio. There will be a 4-day lumber grading short course conducted by
NHLA Instructor Barry Kibbey from Nov. 4-7, followed by a separate 1-day walnut
grading short course on Nov. 8, 2013 at Taylor Lumber Co. in McDermott.
You are welcome to take either or both courses. If attending both,
separate registration is required. To
register, go to the OFA website. For those coming from a distance,
there is hotel information available.
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