Posted By Gayla Fleming,
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
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Strong, Bi-Partisan House Support for Carbon Neutrality of Woody Biomass
A Congressional letter spearheaded by U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI-8) and Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA-02) and co-signed by 154 House members including 112 Republicans and 43 Democrats was sent to EPA Administrator McCarthy, Energy Secretary Moniz, and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack indicating their support for biomass energy as a carbon neutral fuel source. The letter asked that the administrators should make sure that all policies and rules that they are responsible for should clearly recognize the carbon neutrality of biomass. Approximately one-third of the House signed this letter and experts believe that this is a huge show of support for the issue. Many also believe that the timing of this is important as the administration is ready to release new carbon emission rules. Four of Ohio’s delegation signed the letter: Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-08), Rep. David Joyce (R- 14), Rep. Bob Latta (R-5), and Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-02).
Highway Funding Reauthorization Bill to be Debated by House Transportation
Committee in September; Truck Weigh Reform a Target for Inclusion
Following yet another temporary extension on a Highway Funding Bill, Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) of the House Transportation Committee announced last week that the bill will be debated in September. The Coalition for Transportation Productivity (CTP) which has worked long and hard on the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act (SETA) is hopeful that SETA will be included in the reauthorization bill. To that end, CTP is asking for help getting Congress to support the inclusion of SETA. CTP has provided a sample letter that individuals can use to contact his or her Congressional representative. Urging all of the Ohio delegation to support this measure would be helpful. The only Ohio member on the Transportation Committee is Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH-7) from north central Ohio, and his support would be especially helpful.
Forestry Advisory Council Meeting Summary
The ODNR Division of Forestry held its quarterly Forestry Advisory Council meeting last week. A host of issues were discussed:
- Certification Audit - The DOF will be going through the 5-year certification audit for state forest lands in late October, 2015. DOF has dual certification FSC and SFI on most of its state forest lands:
- Perry State Forest Mining Permit - DOF has received an inquiry from Oxford Mining for re-mining a portion of the state forest. Perry State Forest is largely a 4,500 parcel of pre-law mined lands. Oxford is interested in looking at approximately 1,000 acres of the state forest, much of which had already been mined once, but not reclaimed.
- Ohio Forest Tax Law Proposal. DOF staff continues to talk with interest groups about an update of the Ohio Forest Tax Law. A recent meeting with the Ohio Auditors Association identified some issues that will slow progress for a law re-write.
- State Recreational Vehicle (SRV) Fund. The Ohio SRV Fund provides funding to DOF to manage ATV/APV areas on state forest lands. DOF is purchasing land at Pike State Forest (138 acres) that will be used to expand the Pike APV area.
- Forest Legacy Program. Using federal forest legacy funds, DOF is in the process of purchasing approximately 1,000 acres at Shawnee State Forest that will tie-in key inholdings near the southern end of the forest. The lands were identified through the Forest Legacy Program which provides federal funds to states for the purchase of important forest areas either through fee simple purchase or acquisition of conservation easements.
- Timber Sale Program. Last year, DOF sold $3.7 million in stumpage with an average stump value of $362/MBF. That is approximately $60/MBF higher than the previous fiscal year. A total of 1.8 MMBF was sold through merchandised sales from state forests last year.
- NEXUS Right-of-Entry. There was considerable discussion about the NEXUS Gas Transmission pipeline that is working its way through Ohio. The project is building pipeline infrastructure from around Detroit to eastern Ohio for the gas play that is taking place in eastern Ohio. Of concern is that the proposal could significantly impact the Oak Openings region in northwest Ohio. FAC member Walt Lange has raised significant concerns about the proposed location of the pipeline and the appropriate role for ODNR in the overall project review.
New Smokey Bear Helps Open Ohio State Fair
A mainstay at the Ohio State Fairgrounds since 1959 has been the large, talking Smokey Bear which greeted families visiting the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Park in the far southeastern portion of the fairgrounds. After 55 years on the job, Smokey has been replaced by a younger and newer version. By and large, he is the same large bear that talks to children, calling them by name, and warning them about the dangers of wildfires. The bear figure was replaced by an Ohio company from Cincinnati called LifeFormations. President of the company is Rodney Heiligmann and many from OFA will remember his father, Dr. Randy Heiligmann, retired from the OSU School of Environment and Natural Resources. Work to replace the bear was done largely by the Ohio Division of Forestry and funding to purchase the replacement came from a U.S. Forest Service grant.
OSU Thompson Library Proposal – Wood in Library Renovation Promotion
OFA continues to work on a project to highlight the major use of wood in the OSU Thompson Library renovation project on the main campus. Some will recall the tour of the library at the OFA Annual Meeting in 2012. At that time, a number of members talked about the value of promoting the use of the wood to students and many people who visit the library. To that end, a small committee representing a number of groups including OFA, the Ohio Society of American Foresters, Ohio Tree Farm Committee, Division of Forestry and the OSU School of Environment and Natural Resources are working on a proposal to create a gallery exhibit at the library highlighting the use of the wood in the renovation, the source of wood from Ohio’s state forests, and the role of sustainable forestry in the continuous wood supply. The library is accepting exhibit applications through October 31 of this year, by which time a proposal will be submitted. If the proposal is accepted it would be on display in the library in 2017.
Ohio Utica Shale Contributed Significantly to U.S. Natural Gas Production
Ohio’s Utica Shale production, along with that from nearby West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York was responsible for 85% of the growth in U.S. shale production since 2012. The production from the Utica play is expected to continue growing, up to 22 MMcf/d in August of 2015. However, drilling has tailed off dropping from more than 30 wells in 2014 to about one dozen in 2015, due largely to the decline in prices. Since 2009, the state has issued 1,980 permits for drilling in the Utica Shale, with 1,543 wells drilled during that time. Carroll County has the most Utica Shale permits with 495, followed by Harrison County with 365 permits, and Belmont County with 239.
SFI Launches Wood for GoodProgram with Habitat for Humanity
Recently, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) launched the Wood for Good program with the Habitat for Humanity. It is an effort to help SFI certified companies work with Habitat for Humanity to provide excess inventories for building projects. This document briefly describes the program. Many are familiar with Habitat for Humanity which is an international Christian initiative that provides housing for needy through construction, rehabilitation and repairs.
- Ohio Woodland Stewards Workshop: The Good, The Bad, and The Hungry: Managing Wildlife Conflict in the Landscape, August 7, 2015, Perrysburg, Ohio. OSU Extension is hosting a day-long workshop (9 am – 3 pm) to talk about wildlife problems in Ohio rural and urban areas. We are all too familiar with the numerous problems a host of wildlife are causing. This workshop will discuss the problems and offer some solutions for management. The workshop fee is $35 and includes lunch. You can find information on-line at the Ohio Woodland Stewards Program website. You can also register on-line.
- Forest Heritage Festival, August 8, 2015, Tuscarawas County Fairgrounds.
- Tree Diagnostic Workshop, Friday, August 14, 2015, OSU – Mansfield Campus. Get information on common and not-so-common tree problems from OSU Extension Specialists in this all-day session (9 am – 3 pm), sponsored by the Ohio Woodland Stewards Program. There is a $35 cost and pre-registration is required. You can register on line at the Woodland Stewards Website. A flyer for the session is attached.
- Lumberman’s Outing, September 9, 2015, The Pines Golf Course, Orrville, and Lost Bird Sporting Clays, Fredericksburg. Plans are being finalized for this event but put this fundraiser on your calendar for a day of golf or sporting clay shooting. This event is conducted to raise money for the Lumberman’s Benevolent Fund which helps our friends in the wood industry in times of special need. This year, proceeds from the event will be used to help the Rob McCarthy family. Rob McCarthy is Past President of the OFA Board and this year has been especially trying for his family. Rob suffered a broken back from a sledding accident a year ago. More recently, his wife Martha has been diagnosed with cancer. She has been undergoing aggressive treatments at both the Cleveland Clinic and the OSU James Medical Center. Please join in the fellowship of the event and help one of our friends in the process.
- Ohio Tree Farm of the Year Tour, September 19, 2015, Sycamore Hill Tree Farm, Harrison County.
- Southeast Ohio Tree Care Conference, Wednesday, September 30, 2015, Athens, Ohio. This is a tree care conference designed primarily for tree care in community settings. But there are a couple presentations that may be of interest to those interested in forest tree care as well. Dr. Joanne Rebbeck, researcher with the U.S. Forest Service in Delaware, Ohio will talk about biocontrol for Ailanthus and possible future opportunities to control this invasive pest. (See a Columbus Dispatch article about the work Dr. Rebbeck is doing to control Ailanthus with a fungus.) There is also a presentation on Saving Ohio’s Pollinators by Diane Kahal-Berman, an Engineer with the Ohio Department of Transportation. The one-day workshop has a $23 registration fee which includes lunch. The workshop will be at the ODNR headquarters in Athens.
- Paul Bunyan Show, October 2-4, 2015, Guernsey County Fairgrounds.
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