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Timber Talk 8/25/14

Posted By Gayla Fleming, Monday, August 25, 2014

Lumberman’s Outing, September 10, 2014
The Lumberman’s Outing, a one-day fundraising activity for the Lumberman’s Benevolent Fund, is quickly approaching. We encourage as many OFA members as possible to attend the event. You can get a team together to play golf at The Pines Golf Course in Orrville or you can test your shooting prowess with sporting clay shooting at The Lost Bird Sporting Clays in Fredericksburg. If you can’t make the event but would like to support the event as a sponsor or donor, you can do so. Registration for everything can be done at the OFA website. You can be a golf hole or clay station sponsor, event sponsor or simply provide a donation. Proceeds of the event go to the Lumberman’s Benevolent Fund with money supporting individuals and families of those in the forest products industry with special needs and concerns.

Paul Bunyan Show, Oct. 3-5, 2014
Hard to believe but the Paul Bunyan Show is once again around the corner. The 68thshowing of the Paul Bunyan Show will be at the Guernsey County Fairgrounds for 9th straight year. Once again, we look forward to another outstanding event that will feature the latest in forest products industry equipment and technology mixed in with fun events, displays, and education for everyone. There is a lot of OFA help to carry out the show, and those members wishing to spend some time at the show, helping out and seeing all that takes place can contact Gayla at the OFA office to offer their help.

Northern Long-Eared Bat News
The closing date for the 60-day extension on public comments for the listing of the Northern Long-Eared Bat (NLEB) is August 29, 2014. OFA is submitting comments as part of a forest products industry nationwide coalition. The coalition has concerns that the proposed listing could have profound impacts on the practice of forestry within the bat range, which covers parts or all of 39 contiguous U.S. states, and extends into Canada. Most notably, management recommendations may include restrictions on summer logging of potential bat trees 3” in diameter and larger. Last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USF&WS) held a webinar at several different times throughout the week to provide information on the potential listing and answer questions about how a listing could play out. OFA participated in one of the sessions. Of note, when one participant asked if USF&WS had essentially made its decision on endangered listing already, the agency essentially said yes, but is trying to get more scientific information that would change that decision. USF&WS is also maintaining that the forest management restrictions currently are stated as "guidelines” and not requirements. In a Question and Answer segment on its website, USF&WS when asked if harvesting during summer breeding season "would not be allowed,” says "No, it is not likely that all (ed. Emphasis) timber harvests would be prevented during the bat’s breeding season…” is a statement of concern and one that indicates harvesting will be restricted. You can see more information on the OFA website about the bat and ways to weigh in. Also you can read an article from the Minneapolis Star Tribune about the Minnesota timber industry and potential impacts if the bat is listed.

Bill Introduced Allowing Higher GVW for Natural-Gas Powered Commercial Trucks
Late last month, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) introduced the Natural Gas Long Haul Truck Competitiveness Act of 2014 (S 2721) which would allow long-haul trucks powered by natural gas to carry an additional 2,000# gross vehicle weight on federal highways throughout the country. This allowance is already provided on state roads in Ohio, Colorado, Indiana, Illinois, and Virginia.

Division of Forestry State Forest Management Public Comments/Ohio Environmental Council Encourages Members to Promote Old-Growth on Ohio State Forests
At the end of July, the Division of Forestry held open houses in several locations to discuss management plans for the coming year. To that end, the public can still submit comments to DOF through August 31. The Ohio Environmental Council (OEC) recently sent out an Action Alert asking its members to give comment to the Division of Forestry on management of state forests, advising members to push the DOF to maintain forest certification on its lands, extend old-growth management to the Shawnee State Forest Backcountry Management Area, and to make more information on sensitive species available to the public. OFA supports "working forest” management of state forests and encourages the DOF to continue its management regimen that "working forests” best provide Ohio’s public with the many economic and environmental values of well-managed woodlands. You can add your comments via email to the Division of Forestry: forestry.comments@dnr.state.oh.us.

National Association of Manufacturers Weighs in Against US EPA Proposed Ozone Standards
In an Op-Ed recently printed in the Wall Street Journal, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) weighed in against the proposed new and more stringent ground-level ozone standards. As pointed out in the op-ed piece, NAM indicated that less than 6 years ago, US EPA had implemented new ozone standards, and the nation’s second highest court recently ruled that these standards (75 ppb of ozone) are protecting public health. Now, EPA is proposing that the standards be lowered to 60 ppb. According to NAM, the new standards would cost Americans $270 billion, put millions of jobs at risk, and result in higher energy costs for all of us. NAM maintains that the more stringent standards could mean "shutting down, scrapping, or modifying power plants, factories, heavy-duty vehicles, farm equipment, off-road vehicles and even passenger cars” and costs would be passed on to consumers. NAM points out that since 1980, ground-level ozone has dropped 25% even as the economy has expanded and that the improvements continue to play out with existing standards. You can read the full Op-Ed piece here.

American Tree Farm System Reviewing Certification Standards per PEFC
During 2014, the American Tree Farm System (ATFS) has been reviewing its certification standards per the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), an international organization that promotes forest certification and sets standards accordingly. ATFS began its review process early in the year and has already held an open public comment period on the current standard. ATFS has now opened up a second public comment period to review the revised standards. To that end, ATFS is holding a webinar on August 26 at 1:30 pm EDT for Tree Farmers and anyone wishing to know more about the proposed changes. Those interested I participating in the webinar can registerat this site.

BWC New Marketing and Media Website/News on BWC Class Action Lawsuit
The Bureau of Workers Compensation has announced a new Marketing and Media website for BWC participants. This new site replaces the old Media Website. Appears to be a good location to get information in general on BWC needs. Concerning the settlement of the class action lawsuit over workers’ compensation premiums and group safety programs, BWC reports that businesses due premium paybacks as part of the settlement will begin receiving instructions on submitting claims. BWC will be using a third-party administrator, The Garden City Group, to handle claims. Claims will be due to the TPA by October 22 for processing payments. The settlement provides up to $420 million for premium returns to businesses.

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