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Timber Talk 2/24/14

Posted By John Dorka, Monday, February 24, 2014


2014 OFA Annual Meeting
It’s almost meeting time, but there is still time to register on-line if you haven’t done so already.  Rooms at the hotel are filling up and won’t be available for long. You can still get the meeting rate but cannot do so by signing up on-line. You will have to call the hotel for your reservation (1-800-325-3535), and if you need assistance with reservations, give Gayla a call at the OFA office. We have received good response from the legislature with participation at the Legislative Reception. If you plan to attend, please give your legislator a call and let them know that you plan to be there and would like to meet them (if you haven’t met already). It will be our chance to weigh in on the proposed timber theft legislation and any other issue that may be of concern. Legislators hope and expect to talk with constituents at receptions, even if only one is there. So a contact prior to the meeting would be very helpful. Call Gayla at the OFA office for any questions or assistance 614-497-9580, ext. 5. Tree Farm Silent Auction - Please note that the Tree Farm Committee continues to welcome donations for the Silent Auction at the Annual Meeting. You can bring donations to the meeting or contact Gayla at the OFA Office if you need to make special arrangements for donations to be picked up.
OSU Thompson Library Project Update
We have reported in the past that OFA was working with the Ohio Tree Farm Committee and the Ohio Society of American Foresters on a project to promote the White oak used in the OSU Thompson Library Renovation project several years ago.  Some will recall that the OSU Thompson Library tour for the OFA Annual Meeting in 2012 and the remarkable architecture and use of the wood.  After that tour, a number of members believed that the project should be promoted such that library visitors and others could learn about wood as an architectural material which in this case was sourced from Ohio and manufactured stump to library in Ohio.  It is a wonderful story which was highlighted in the Winter 2011 edition of the Ohio Woodland Journal, a copy of which you can find on-line on the Ohio Tree Farm website.  Last week, we had a very successful meeting with staff from the OSU Thompson Library who are excited about working on the project.  The focus of the project will be the creation of a website and mobile application that visitors and others can quickly access to learn about the entire project, along with key banners that help visitors learn about the information.  There will also be a display for the library that eventually would shift to the School of Environment and Natural Resources at OSU.
State of the State Address
As has become a tradition for Governor Kasich, the State Address has become a "road show” and this year, he will give the address on Monday, February 24 at 7 pm at the Medina Performing Arts Center.  Medina is the home of House Speaker Bill Batchelder and the address is a tribute to Speaker Batchelder as this year is his last in the legislature.  There is a day full of festivities which will feature presentations and demonstrations from a number of state agencies.  As one of the presentations, ODNR and the OEPA will have an orphan well education presentation in the afternoon.  ODNR Director Zehringer and OEPA Director Butler will showcase what the state is doing to plug orphan wells, which include vertical oil and gas wells that are no longer in production. The Department of Taxation will also hold a tax-overpayment refund event to highlight what the administration and legislature are doing to insure refunds are properly returned to businesses and individuals, something that the Department learned within the year was not taking place according to law.
Now is the Time to Sign up for the PJM Demand Response Program
OFA manufacturers interested in saving money on their electric usage may want to consider the PJM Demand Response Program. In short, Demand Response is a voluntary agreement that manufacturers can sign with electric energy providers whereby they agree to a reduction if electric usage in response to electric grid emergencies or high energy prices and in exchange receive significant upfront payments.  Some OFA members have already signed up for Demand Response. Participation is totally voluntary and depends on whether or not facility managers believe it is in their interest to do so. You can learn more about Demand Response through the OFA/Riverside Energy Services Program.  Call (614-766-7740) or email ( Sherri Loscko at Riverside Energy for more information. Sherri is planning on attending the OFA Annual Meeting so if you would like to talk with her there to find out more, you can do so. This brief description gives you more information about the Demand Response opportunity.
Fracking on ODNR Lands
Environmental groups were claiming last week that they had public record evidence that showed ODNR was planning gas "fracking” on state parks and forest lands even though the agency was supposed to go through a legislatively created Commission that would determine where fracking activity could take place.  Since legislation was passed three years ago, nothing has been done to pursue energy development and the Commission is yet to be put together. It also appears that the Kasich Administration has since scrapped any plans to pursue fracking on these ODNR lands. The memo acquired from ODNR indicated that the agency at one time was considering fracking on Barkcamp State Park, Wolf Run State Park, and Sunfish Creek State Forest. It appears that the Ohio Oil and Gas Association will not make an issue of the plan to back off of fracking on ODNR land
Green Energy Bill Continues to Draw Debate/Duke Energy to Sell Power Plants
There has been an ongoing debate, spearheaded by Sen. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati), to revise Ohio’s green energy law that relates to renewable portfolio standards and the requirements that Ohio get a certain amount of its energy from renewable and alternative sources.  Those opposed to the standards believe that the standards are causing a significant increase in costs to consumers while green energy proponents believe they have evidence that proves the opposite.  There was proponent testimony last week on SB 58 which would roll back standards. Ohioans for Sustainable Jobs released a report that says Ohio consumers are paying prices 5 to 10 times higher than the benefits they receive.  They have even prepared an on-line calculator that helps consumers calculate the costs. The Chamber of Commerce and the Industrial Energy Users-Ohio agree that the standards should be changed.  Meanwhile Duke Energy has announced its plan to sell 13 power plants, 11 of which are located in Ohio. The announcement came on the heels of a decision by PUCO last week to deny Duke Energy’s request for $729 million in rate increases.  Among facilities to be sold are the coal-fired plant in Conesville and the Washington Energy gas-fired plant in Beverly.
Farm Bureau Supports Fertilizer Regulation Bill
The Ohio Farm Bureau is supporting legislation that already passed in the House requiring that farmers who apply fertilizer must be certified, similar to the pesticide applicators licensing program which licenses over 14,000 applicators in Ohio. Many pesticide applicators are expected to become fertilizer certified applicators. The Farm Bureau is supporting the legislation (SB 150) but believes that there must be funding provided to insure that the program is successful. The law would apply to farmers who apply more than 50 acres of fertilizer.
Rob McCarthy Accident
OFA learned last week that Rob McCarthy from ITL and an OFA Vice-President suffered a back injury in an accident while sledding with his son. The injury required surgery for a crushed vertebrae. He is now home and doing well in recovery. Rob appreciates your thoughts and prayers.  

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