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Timber Talk 2/29/16

Posted By Gayla Fleming, Tuesday, March 1, 2016

2016 OFA Annual Meeting
The meeting is just around the corner. Visit the OFA website for information and arrangements. The meeting overnight room block has been sold, but those wishing to stay overnight can still get the meeting rate through Friday of this week. There are still select sponsorship opportunities available.
Division of Forestry Starting an Ohio Timber Products Output Survey for Primary Mill Manufacturers
The Division of Forestry (DOF) advised OFA that it will soon send surveys to Ohio primary sawmill manufacturers to gather information for an update of the 2006 Timber Products Output Survey for Ohio. The report summarizes roundwood production utilized by Ohio primary sawmills and the survey will be mailed to all known Ohio primary manufacturers. (Note that for the 2006 survey, there were 197 mills in Ohio.) You can take a look at what the survey will include here. Expect to be contacted in the near future. The information is used to compile statewide data and becomes very useful in capturing the size, extent, and economic impact of Ohio’s forest products industry. This information supports legislative and policy efforts to maintain and strengthen the industry and forestry in general. OFA is encouraging all primary manufacturing members to fill out the survey if one is received.

TEAM Safe Trucking: Elevate the Standard
Recently a consortium of forest product industry interests including wood suppliers, loggers, log truckers, associations, truck and trailer manufacturers, transportation product suppliers and insurance carriers and agents, all of whom want to improve safety in the log and chip transportation sector have banded together to promote awareness of and education for transportation safety. The group calls itself TEAM Safe Trucking (TST) and is now embarking on a plan to raise awareness and funding to pursue the education and awareness goals. Here is a news release from the group briefly explaining the effort. Safe trucking and injury prevention is a noble and important goal for all of us in the industry.

Ohio Electricity News on AEP & FirstEnergy
AEP and FirstEnergy have been in the news concerning Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) for which they are requesting PUCO approval. The PPAs would allow the companies to pass on to ratepayers the costs of the sale of power from certain power plants that are older and less economical to operate. Some opponents have filed complaints against the companies with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), asking that the plans by struck down before being approved by PUCO. This is complicated stuff. To help understand this, you can read a brief statement on the action provided by Sherri Loscko, Riverside Energy, who assists OFA membership with acquiring competitive electric rates. Please note the statement at the end of the brief that indicates Demand Response programs, which some OFA manufacturing members have taken advantage of, was recently supported in a U.S. Supreme Court decision on a FERC order which held that companies participating in Demand Response programs should be paid the same energy payments as generators. As Sherri indicates, this decision is viewed as a good sign that Demand Response is "here to stay.” As such she suggested that with market prices currently at or near all-time lows, it would be a good time for participants to lock in generation prices. Contact Sherri via the information shown at the bottom of the attachment for more information on the opportunities.

WRI Reports North American Wood Pellet Exports Rise to Record Levels
Wood Resources International (WRI) reported that third quarter 2015 wood pellet exports hit 1.6 million tons, the largest volume recorded, with 77% of the volume coming from the U.S. South. WRI reports that the south continues to add capacity, with new plants built in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

Clean Power Plan (CPP) and Carbon Neutrality
We recently reported that the Supreme Court stayed implementation of the federal Clean Power Plan, which will depend on litigation currently in lower courts dealing with petitions from 26 states (including Ohio) to stop the CPP. Of most concern to the national forest products industry is how woody biomass will be treated in state plans that must be prepared to meet federal requirements. Concerning carbon neutrality, recent Senate Committee actions with the Senate Energy Bill (S 2012) were favorable toward the carbon neutrality of woody biomass. A bi-partisan amendment directing the federal government to recognize biomass as carbon neutral was voted into the bill by committee and will be heard by the full Senate. With its passage already in the House, it appears that the issue is on the right track for eventual inclusion in federal carbon guidelines and standards.

Sales Tax Holiday Passes Senate in Amended Version
As previously reported, the legislature was looking to make permanent a sales tax holiday tried this past year and considered successful. In SB 264, there was a proposal to make the holiday permanent. Last week, the Senate approved another one-year test of the holiday, rather than make it permanent. There was belief that a one-year test was not enough a large enough sample to pass a permanent change. The Department of Taxation and the County Commissioners Association asked that the original bill be amended to continue the temporary nature of the holiday.

Governor Kasich to Deliver State of the State Address in Marietta in April
It was announced last week that Governor Kasich would make his State of the State Address in Marietta on April 6 at the People’s Bank Theatre at 7 pm. The governor started delivering "remote” state of the state addresses in 2012 when he did so for the first time in Steubenville. Since then he has done the annual address Lima in 2013, Medina in 2014, and in Wilmington in 2015. The legislature must first approve the move of the event via a resolution formally endorsing it.

March SOFA Newsletter
Here is the March Newsletter for the Southern Ohio Forestland Association, with information on the recent meeting and upcoming events. Some kind words are spoken about Wayne Lashbrook and his involvement with the Vinton Furnace Experimental Forest. Wayne is retired from MeadWestvaco in Chillicothe, a long-time OFA member and current member of the OFA Foundation Board. Take a look at upcoming meetings and consider attending or becoming a member of SOFA.

Other Upcoming Events
  • Maple Syrup Festival, March 26, 2016, Williams County Fairgrounds - Here is a flyer for the festival which highlights maple syrup production and includes a pancake and sausage breakfast. Events include a number of presentations on woodland management.
  • Project Learning Tree (PLT) Facilitator Workshop, April 20-21, 2016, Shawnee Lodge and Conference Center - PLT-Ohio is hooking up with Project WET to co-host a facilitator workshop on April 20-21, 2016 at the Shawnee State Park Lodge and Conference Center (see flyer). PLT is a great environmental education program for youth and OFA supports its activities. Those wishing to become a PLT facilitator can attend this conference to do so. There is a $104 registration fee that covers all meals, lodging (one night) and program costs. Those wishing to participate are asked to register on-line by April 13, 2016.
  • Forest and Wood Products Export Conference, April 27, OSU South Centers, Piketon, Ohio - Here is a flyer from OSU South Centers concerning the seminar there on April 27 on Forest and Wood Products Exports. The conference features Mike Snow, from the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) and Dana Spessert from NHLA. There is a $25 registration fee and the flyer has registration information.

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