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Timber Talk 4.14.15

Posted By Gayla Fleming, Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Statehouse News
Timber Theft Legislation - Rep. McGregor has introduced legislation affecting timber theft. It is HB 515, Timber Harvesting and you can read the legislation by clicking on the link. It has also been assigned to the House Agriculture and Natural Resource Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Dave Hall (R-Millersburg) and co-chaired by Rep. Andy Thompson (R-Marietta). Click on the link to see all the members of the committee and if your legislator is on that committee. It is one of the largest committees in the legislature. The bill has not yet had its first hearing, and it appears that will not take place until sometime after the spring break. OFA will be taking appropriate action to respond to the bill and provide feedback from our membership. We will have information regarding the legislation that can be passed along to our members to help you provide feedback. It will be helpful to have a number of our members weigh in on the legislation and I will be contacting a number of you to talk about the proposal. Don’t hesitate to call me (John Dorka) if you have questions or concerns.

Freeze on Clean Energy Standards - There are both proponents and opponents to the bill (SB 310) introduced by Sen. Troy Balderson (R-Zanesville) that would freeze renewable energy standards at current levels rather than allow progressively increasing standards that SB 221, Energy Bill passed in 2008 now require. In general, the electric energy industry is in favor of the bill while environmentalists and the renewable energy industry is opposed. Some Chambers of Commerce, particularly those in northwest Ohio where wind farms are being developed and the Ohio Farm Bureau are against the proposed legislation. The renewable energy proponents are concerned that passage of the bill would kill the Renewable Energy Credit (REC) market and essentially kill a growing industry in Ohio. Proponents are also arguing that 10,000 megawatts of power plants in the PJM area have been or are being shut down at a time when consumption is increasing and there will be demand for electricity from someplace.

House Passes Farm Measures to Curb Algae - The House passed SB 150 aimed at curbing the chronic problem with algae blooms in Ohio. Under the measure, farmers will have to take training to be certified chemical fertilizer applicators on large farms. The bill also includes provisions for "affirmative defense in private civil action claims” if certain conditions are met.  Manure application regulations were not added to the bill in spite of efforts to do so.

BWC News
Here is a news release from CareWorks Consultants, Inc. (CCI) indicating that the deadline for employers to sign up for a Group Retrospective Rating Program is April 25, 2014. Under group retrospective rating, employers pay premiums ahead and then earn their group reductions based on the injury track record of the group at the end of the premium period. A good year can earn participants greater premium savings than would be earned through the traditional prospective rating group savings approach. CCI offers the full workers comp services as the third-party administrator for the group safety program. Also here is a CCI news release on a series of seminars on various Workers Comp topics including Prospective Premium Payment System, Program Timelines, Lowering Claim Costs, Hearing Representation, Unemployment Cost Control Strategies, and Safety. There are 5 seminars in late June in locations around Ohio. The seminars require pre-registration and include a $40 fee with a continental breakfast and lunch. You can register on-line.

Excellent Opinion Article on Problems with Anti-Biomass Propaganda
You can read a very good opinion piece concerning anti-biomass propaganda against burning biomass as a fuel source. The op-ed is written by a west coast consultant and expert in biomass facilities and applies to west coast situations. However, his statements about the environmental impacts and benefits of burning of biomass and its carbon neutrality apply anywhere. The 25 X’25 organization has been around for some time and has promoted biomass as an environmentally acceptable fuel source.

NHLA Workshop
International Marketing for Forest Products Industries, May 7, 2014, Memphis, TN.
The National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA) is sponsoring an exporting workshop for the forest products industry on May 7, 2014 in Memphis, TN. The workshop is intended for company owners, managers, employees, consultants, economic development staff, and anyone who has an interest in pursuing new international markets or expanding existing markets. You can find more information about the workshop on the NHLA website and can register on-line. It is a one-day class and the fee is $250.

OSU South Centers/Endeavor Center
Forest and Wood Products Exporting Conference, May 13, 2014, 9 am – 2:30 pm.
A little closer to home and less expensive is a workshop on Forest and Wood Products Exporting sponsored by OSU South Centers and OFA. The workshop will provide participants information on the hardwood export market and offer information to expand markets or help those wanting to get into exporting. It will be similar to the workshop offered a year ago, and will again include a presentation by Mike Snow, Executive Director, of the American Hardwood Export Council(AHEC) on the latest in hardwood export markets. You can get more information about the conference on the OSU South Centers website. To reserve a seat for the May 13 conference, register by May 8 by contacting Jennifer Warfe at 740-289-1605 Ext. 301 or email warfe.2@osu.edu.

Coalition Advocates Role of Private Forests in Climate Change
A coalition called the Forest Climate Working Group co-chaired by the American Forest Foundation (Tree Farm Program) and the Trust for Public Land is advocating the role of private forest lands in mitigating climate change. America’s rural and urban forests already capture an amazing 13% of the annual U.S. carbon emissions, and the coalition offers 6 strategies to assist in using forests to do even more. You can read the 6 strategies here. The strategies range from intensifying efforts through the Forest Inventory and Analysis Program for better information to expanding the use of forest products and better managing our forests.

Bamboo Revisited: Dovetail Partners Revisits its
Review of the Environmental Sustainability of Bamboo

In 2005, Dovetail Partners, an independent management consulting company, prepared a report on the sustainability of bamboo and raised many questions about the claims that bamboo was an environmentally friendly product. By and large, bamboo was considered a "green” product only because it was a very short-rotation, "rapidly renewable” product. There was no consideration given to the total environmental "footprint” of using bamboo. Dovetail Partners recently revisited the issue and came up with an updated report of findings, which you can find here. Dovetail Partners finds that although some of the claims have been toned down, there are still much misinformation put out about the environmental benefits of bamboo. One good thing is that the LEED v4 green building standards recently put out by the U.S. Green Building Council no longer provides credits for bamboo. The report is a good review and worth a few minutes to take a look at. There is information about how much the Chinese have done to expand bamboo production in China, but there are also many quotes relating to the lack of environmental standards in its growth and management. The last paragraph of report provides a concluding statement on bamboo: "As we concluded in 2005, bamboo products should never be designated as environmentally preferable materials without at the very least requiring careful consideration of environmental impacts throughout the entire supply chain. It is time for all players in the green building arena to replace rapid renewability credits with a bit of common sense.”

AEP Removing Infested Ash Trees Threatening Power Lines
From an article in the Columbus Dispatch last week, AEP reportedly is removing high risk, infested ash trees from landowner’s property if the dead or dying trees pose a threat to power lines. This more aggressive approach to tree trimming by the company is taking the burden off of many homeowners who would have to have the trees removed themselves.

Paul Bunyan Show Exhibitor/Sponsor Registration Live
The Exhibitor and Sponsorship registration for the 2014 Official Paul Bunyan Show is now live on the OFA website. The Show will be held October 3-5, 2014 at the Guernsey County Fairgrounds. Those wishing to participate in the show can find all of the information needed here. Previous exhibitors have first rights to their previous spots if contracts are received by the deadline of June 2, 2014. Please contact Gayla at 614-497-9580 with any questions. We are looking forward to a great show this year!
2014 Ohio Forestry and Wildlife Conservation Camp

It is hard to believe Forestry Camp is now less than two months away! Camp will be held June 8-13 this year and OFA needs your help in getting the word out. Please share camp information with any high school age students in your life. Make your employees aware of this opportunity. Details and registration information can be found here.

The cost of the camp is $325 if you register before May 1. If students need financial assistance there is plenty of help available. Most of the Soil and Water Conservation Districts budget to send one or more student to camp and other conservation groups, woodland owner groups, loggers chapters and OFA members often sponsor kids to attend. Currently OFA has sponsorship commitments for students in the following counties: Coshocton, Guernsey, Licking, Morgan, Muskingum and Perry. In addition we have and open sponsorship from NWTF for any student in Ohio.

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