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Timber Talk 5/2/16

Posted By Gayla Fleming, Tuesday, May 03, 2016
To view previous weeks Timber Talk advance the page numbers at the bottom of this page.
AEP/First Energy Rate Guarantee Battle Continues
In the seemingly never ending battle between the power companies, state regulators, and federal regulators, a punch was thrown this week by the feds. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) released orders on Wednesday finding that the "rate guarantee” plans of AEP and First Energy are not valid unless both companies apply for, and receive, approval from the agency. We will keep you informed on the progress of this issue, as we are sure there will be continuing developments. You can read more on this at the following link: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/business/2016/04/27/0427-profit-guarantees.html
Arbor Day
Arbor Day in Ohio may be officially behind us, but the continuing struggle to educate the general public about proper forest management, including timber harvesting, never ends. At the following link is a good article that explains the difference between timber harvesting and deforestation, as well as how responsible forest management helps fight deforestation. http://www.treehugger.com/corporate-responsibility/celebrating-arbor-day-how-responsible-forest-management-helps-fight-deforestation.html
SOLAS Regulations Update
In previous newsletters we have talked about the SOLAS Weigh-Bill regulations that go into effect on July 1, 2016. This is a set of requirements for shippers sending products in containers via ocean going vessels. Effective July 1, 2016, all containers being shipped must have a weigh-bill with a Verified Gross Weight (VGW). This VGW refers to the gross weight of the shipping container, not of the truck hauling the container to the rail or ocean port. I have had questions from OFA members about trucking weight issues with getting their loads to the port. The Gross Vehicle Weight trucking issues, from loading point to the port, will need to be addressed individually by each company. As long as the VGW of the container does not exceed the gross weight printed on the container, the container will not be rejected at the port. The containers that I have looked at recently will hold close to 30 tons of product, plus or minus a little, before exceeding the gross weight of the container. I would believe that in most cases, trucking 30 tons of product in a container will be difficult to do while adhering to Ohio’s gross weight limit restrictions. Visit the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Special Hauling Permit webpage at the following link to see if your situation fits for a special overweight load permit that allows for point-to-point hauling that exceeds the statutory maximum legal weights. https://www.dot.state.oh.us/Divisions/Operations/Maintenance/Permits/Pages/default_OLD.aspx To read more about the upcoming SOLAS Weigh-Bill regulations. See the following link for an update from the Hardwood Federation http://www.hmamembers.org/TheLink/CurrentIssueMay/tabid/310/Article/395/Hardwood-Federation-Update.aspx#.VydXIUfGDih
Possible State Sales Tax Exemption for Sales of Bulk Firewood
An amendment to Ohio House Bill 515 (HB 515) was introduced in April that would allow for a sales tax exemption on the bulk sale of firewood and a few other fuels, when used for heating purposes. Go to the following link to view the text on this Bill and to keep up with its progress. http://openstates.org/oh/bills/131/HB515/
Ohio’s Alternative Energy Standards
Another legislative issue that OFA is following is the debate over Ohio’s alternative energy standards. The recently proposed Senate Bill 320 (SB 320) purportedly would extend the freeze on those standards. I feel sure that as diverse as our membership is, there are people with different viewpoints on these future regulations. Ohio Citizen Action voices their opinion in the article at the following link. http://ohiocitizen.org/2016/04/
ODNR Could Undergo Changes with Senate Bill 293(SB 293)
Introduced earlier this spring, SB 293 deals with some proposed changes within ODNR. The biggest change would be the merging of the Division of Parks and Recreation with the Division of Watercraft. Other areas that could be affected include: Watercraft Safety, Office of Real Estate and Land Management, Water Improvements Law, Natural Resources Officers, Scenic Rivers Advisory Council, elimination of various councils and commissions, and Division of Forestry. The Division of Forestry changes are centered around Forest-Fire Investigators, Fire Protection Areas, and a few additional Division of Forestry law revisions. The most significant of these additional revisions, as it relates to our Members, is in the bond requirement when bidding on a state timber sale. Read the SB 293 analysis for more information on these proposed changes.
Brad’s Safety Comments
I spent last weekend with a group of people at a nature weekend retreat in southern Knox County. One of the activities was a couple hours of mushroom hunting in the woods on a rainy afternoon. (yes…we found enough mushrooms for 14 people to have an appetizer at dinner that evening) The other thing we found, or I should say, one woman found, was 9 ticks crawling all over her. She must have brushed up against a nest, because none of the rest of us found a single tick. But it is that time of year where we all must look out for these small insects, and better prepare ourselves. At the following link is a very good article from the TickEncounter Resource Center on the Top Ten Things Everyone Should Know About Ticks These Days. This website also has a lot of other tick safety information on it. http://www.tickencounter.org/prevention/top_ten_things_list
Welcome New OFA Members!
The Ohio Forestry Association would like to welcome the following new association members that came on board in April of this year. New Members, please don’t hesitate to contact myself or anyone else at OFA to let us know if we are meeting your needs and expectations.
Individuals:
Tom Painter & Donald Morris

Upcoming Events:

    • NWOLC Meeting – Tuesday, May 3, 2016
    • Chainsaw Level 1 – Friday, May 6, 2016 at Blue Rock State Forest
    • SOLC Meeting – Tuesday May, 10, 2016
    • OFA Exec Committee and Board Meetings – May 18, 2016 at OFA Office in Columbus
    • LSC Meeting – May 25, 2016 at OFA Office in Columbus
    • Forestry and Wildlife Conservation Camp -June 12 – 17, 2016

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