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Timber Talk 11/09/15

Posted By Gayla Fleming, Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Ohio Tree Farm Committee Meets; Agrees to Remain Certified
The Ohio Tree Farm Committee met at the OFA office last week for its quarterly meeting. It was an important gathering as the Committee voted and agreed to maintain the Ohio Tree Farm Program in the "Certified Pathway” of American Tree Farm System, meaning that Ohio Tree Farms must meet appropriate third-party verified standards to be certified. The committee acknowledged that there will be challenges meeting these standards, not least of which is maintaining a corps of volunteer foresters who can complete regularly scheduled inspections to maintain certification status. The Committee also approved the recently developed strategic plan with 3 focus areas of (1) meeting certification compliance; (2) increasing the number of active inspectors; and (3) developing a communication strategy on what it means to be a Tree Farmer in Ohio. There was a host of other business actions taken care of during the meeting, but a point of particular note is that after 50 years of serving with the Ohio Tree Farm Committee, Dave Schatz is stepping down from the Committee. Dave has provided a phenomenal amount of service over the years, not least of which is his leadership and involvement with the creation of the Ohio Woodland Journal, recognized as the premier state Tree Farm publication around the country.Thanks for the service, Dave! The committee also expressed interest with hosting an annual fundraising pancake breakfast at the Paul Bunyan Show and will work to kick off that event at the 2016 show.

Truck Weight Reform Dies Before Getting to Highway Bill
The national forest products industry as a whole, among many other industries, has worked very hard to get reform of commercial truck weight laws on the nation’s highways. Most recently, there was a very concerted effort to get reform included within the Highway Funding bill that was in front of the U.S. House. Over the last couple weeks a coalition of interests worked diligently to get Congress to include an amendment within the bill allowing a change in GVW to 91,000#. In spite of those efforts, the amendment was not passed last week as it was defeated by a vote of 187-236, and the reform was thus not included in the funding bill. As has been the case with truck weight reform, the railroad industry is strongly opposed to any initiative to increase GVW on federal highways and worked very hard to prevent the vote necessary to get the amendment included in the bill. We’ll see where the Coalition for Transportation Productivity (CTP) wants to go with future efforts on weight reform.

U.S. Senate Votes to Support Resolution Nullifying WOTUS Rule
The US Senate last week voted in favor of a resolution that would nullify the Obama Administration’s Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule, which would greatly expand the definition of navigable waters to virtually any watercourse in the country. The vote was 53-44 with Ohio Senator Rob Portman voting in favor of and Senator Sherrod Brown against the resolution. The resolution was passed after a bill that would have required the administration to re-write the rules failed on a procedural vote the same day. The bill received 57 Senate votes in favor but could not get the required 60 to pass cloture. After that failure, the resolution was introduced and passed. The resolution cannot force any action, but sends the message of the importance and problems with the rule.

Another Note on the Hardwood Check Off
The Woodworking Network posted this brief article on USDA’s decision to terminate actions on the Hardwood Check Off order. Nothing particularly new in the article, but it does contain statements from Jeff Hanks and Bill Howard, leaders of the coalitions opposed to and supportive of (respectively) the issue.

Ohio Supreme Court Rules Unrecorded Expirations of Mineral Leases Are Not Title Transactions
The Ohio Supreme Court recently ruled that the unrecorded expiration of an oil and gas lease is not a title transaction, and as a result, the lessee loses his or her status as a lessee by virtue of the terms of the agreement. That means the lessee no longer has exclusive vested rights in the mineral estate. The ruling is based on Ohio’s Dormant Minerals Act which was passed in 1989.

Ohio Ballot Issue Again for Clean Energy
Last week, AG Mike DeWine certified a citizen-initiated proposal to require Ohio to issue bonds for green energy projects. For the fifth time since 2012, an initiative has been proposed. This ballot issue would require the state to issue $1.3 billion in bonds. The proposal must go before the Ohio Ballot Board which must rule on whether the issue meets the single-subject rule. The Board will rule within 10 days.

Martin Guitar Company Article
Just a neat article about the Martin Guitar Company from Chuck Ray, Asst. Professor of Wood and Forest Science, at Penn State University. For those older people like me who still remember John Sebastian, famous musician, songwriter, and entertainer from many years ago, take a look at the video. It’s worth a couple minutes. If you have to ask who John Sebastian is, then you’re too young!

Ohio International Lumber Seeks Lumber Inspector
Ohio International Lumber in Waverly, Ohio is seeking a qualified lumber inspector. Interested parties can find more information here.

OFA 2016 Annual Meeting
The meeting will be held March 9-10, 2016 at the Embassy Suites in Dublin. The topic will be "Ohio Hardwoods - Changes and Challenges".

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