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Timber Talk 4.8.14

Posted By Gayla Fleming, Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Statehouse News

  • Timber Theft Legislative Proposal - It appears that Rep. McGregor has re-written his timber theft legislative proposal, although OFA has not formally received a copy of the latest draft. Rep. McGregor is reportedly requesting co-sponsorship for the bill from other House members at this point. We will keep the membership apprised of the status as we learn more. The legislative session for the spring is expected to be shorter than normal due to election year, and this season is quickly winding down so it will be interesting to see what happens with the bill.
  • Ohio Capital Budget - The 2-year Capital Budget, which covers major construction and renovation for state agencies and universities moved quickly through the Senate and was passed, moving it on to the House.. The $2.4 billion budget has several large conservation components including $100 million for the Clean Ohio Fund, $236.4 million for ODNR facility construction which would include funding for the Division of Forestry, and $10 million for the Healthy Lake Erie Initiative.
  • SB 310, Renewable Energy, Would Freeze Green Energy Requirements at Current Levels - Sen. Troy Balderson (R-Zanesville) introduced SB 310, Renewable Energy, that would freeze green energy requirements at current levels and would authorize a committee to study whether further changes to the green energy standards are warranted. Current law requires that electric utilities must cut customer consumption to 22% reduction (from 2008 levels) by 2025. The bill would also freeze renewable energy at 2.5% of all energy sold by utilities, which would require renewable use of 12.5% by 2025. An "Energy Mandates Study Committee, composed of 21 people from the legislature and various segments of the energy, manufacturing, business, industrial, environmental, and public sectors. Sen. Balderson sponsor testimony indicated that the bill would prevent energy bills from rising, a belief that is not held by opponents of changes in the standards. Opponents believe that any change in the renewable standards will effectively kill the growing renewable energy industry in Ohio. House Speaker Batchelder (R-Medina) said that he supported the bill and he expected that it would pass the House easily.
Senate Finance Committee Passes Tax Extenders Bill
The U.S. Senate Finance Committee recently passed a "Tax Extender” bill to continue allowance for a number of business and personal tax exemptions and credits that essentially expired at the end of 2013. Although Congress is looking at comprehensive tax reform, it is expected to take some time to accomplish. The extenders bill provides another two years of the credits and exemptions that will essentially offer a transition until a reform can be completed. A summary of extenders can be found here. Included is a wide variety of provisions for such things as deductions for mortgage interest and business equipment and investments. You can read a brief letter from the Business Roundtable that is supportive of the extenders bill, particularly as it would pave the way for comprehensive tax reform. In all honesty, as you read the summary, you can see why the tax code is in such need of reform.

Support for USDA Funding on Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA)
More than 60 state and national forestry associations and trade associations co-signed letters to the U.S. Senate and House Appropriations Subcommittees on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies in support of sustained funding for the FIA program, which is a long-term and critical program that has provided valuable information on the nation’s forests and forest products. Here are letters that went both to the House and the Senate in support of the funding.

ODA Expands Quarantine Area for Hemlock Wooly Adelgid
ODA and ODNR announced that there are more areas with incidence of Hemlock Wooly Adelgid (HWA) and as a result are in the process of expanding the quarantine in SE Ohio. ODA reported on HWA at the OFA Annual Meeting. Currently, portions of Washington, Meigs, and Hocking Counties were quarantined for HWA. ODA has found HWA in Lawrence, Monroe, and Vinton Counties and is expected to complete quarantines in portions of these counties also. The finds in Vinton and Lawrence Counties were on State Forests. Here is a news release on the latest infestations.

APHIS files 2014 Eradication Plan for Asian Longhorned Beetle in Clermont County
Here is a news release from APHIS outlining its 2014 plans for eradication of the Asian Longhorned Beetle in Clermont County. On quick review, it appears that the current activities will continue including detection, monitoring, tree removals and other treatments.

E. B. Miller Memorial Scholarship Application Deadline Coming Soon!
OFA is accepting applications for the E.B. Miller Memorial Scholarship. Deadline for accepting applications is April 15. Those interested can either apply on-line or download the application and submit a hard copy. As a reminder to those applying, applicants must be residents of Ohio and must be interested in pursuing a career in forestry or natural resources management.

Yale Study Supports Concludes More Wood Construction Can Reduce Global Use of Fossil Fuels
A study led by Yale University scientists concluded that building more with wood and less with steel and concrete can in fact reduce global use of fossil fuels and lower carbon dioxide emissions. According to the study, the researchers estimated that only 20% of annual world forest growth is harvested with much of that used to burn for cooking. They estimated that if harvest were increased to 34% of growth to be used for wood construction, 14-31 percent of global CO2 emissions could be avoided. Wood construction takes far less energy than concrete or steel construction. More environmental reasons to sue forest products.

Wood Education and Resource Center (WERC) Update
You can look at the WERC Update on-line and find information on biomass fuels, workshops on such topics as firewood processing, urban wood utilization, operating a small sawmill, drying small quantities of lumber, and heat treating logs and firewood using steam and vacuum. You can also see an Update on the Housing Market by Urs Buehlmann from the Virginia Tech Dept. of Wood Science and an Update on Wood Markets by Dan Deckard from the Minnesota DNR.

Regional Forestry Association Newsletters
Here are the April Newsletters of the Southern Ohio Forestland Association (SOFA) and the Northeast Ohio Forestry Association (NEOFA). The SOFA Newsletter has information on the latest general meeting at which Lee Crocker from the National Wild Turkey Federation talked about the present and future wildlife in Ohio, the value of Hackberry, the effect of winter weather on invasive species populations, spring mushrooms, and upcoming events and gatherings. The NEOFA newsletter has information on the NEOFA Annual Banquet on April 25 in Canfield, an update on the Constitution and By-Laws for the association, the OFA Forestry and Wildlife Conservation Camp, spring mushrooms, the Coldwell Family Tree Farm, and upcoming events and activities.

Glatfelter Job Opening
Glatfelter is seeking to hire a Merchandising Forester to work out of its Merchandising Yard in Piketon, Ohio. Those interested can find information on the OFA website. Check the information right away as the closing date for the posting is very soon.

New Health Drink from Maple Trees?
According to this article from Business Insider, the sap from maple trees is being marketed and sold as a health drink. The product is called "Vertical Water” and is nothing more than sap that is normally boiled down to make maple syrup. Unfortunately, the article states that beyond the alleged health benefit of the drink, the producers are marketing it as a way to save the trees from being turned into lumber "unsustainably.” Another misdirected and incorrect marketing concept relating to forest products.

Upcoming Events

Chestnut Foundation Workshop on FOREST: Forest Restoration Specialist Training, April 9, 2014, Coshocton County Services Building, 5:30 – 9:00 pm. The first in a series of three workshops that deals with American Chestnut restoration and establishing hardwood plantations on degraded lands. Registration is free and open to the public. The second session. Here is a flyer on the workshop.

2014 Mid-Atlantic Biomass Heat and Power Conference, April 23-24, 2014, Gettysburg, PA. Learn the latest in biomass power technology at this seminar. It will include field tours to some existing biomass facilities. You can download a brochure here.

Lumberman's Outing - September 10 - Pines Golf Club in Orrville, Ohio and Lost Bird Sporting Clays in Frederecksburg, Ohio.

Paul Bunyan Show - October 3-5, 2014 - Guernsey County Fairgrounds, Cambridge Ohio

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