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Timber Talk 12/1/14

Posted By Gayla Fleming, Monday, December 1, 2014

HB515 Hearings Scheduled This Week
Last week we reported that HB 515 would get a hearing on December 2 in front of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. The schedule has since changed and there will be separate proponent and opponent hearings on the bill. A proponent hearing will be Tuesday afternoon, December 2 at 3:30 pm in Room 116 at the Statehouse. There are a total of 6 bills on schedule for that hearing. On Wednesday morning, December 3 at 10 am in Room 121 there will be an "opponent and interested party” hearing, with two bills scheduled. OFA will be attending both hearings and offering testimony on Wednesday. Hearings are open and those wishing to attend can simply show up to listen. Anyone interested may also offer testimony with the time depending on your position on the bill. Those thinking about testifying can contact John Dorka ahead of time (614-325-1005).

Ron Cornell, Former OFA Executive Director, Passes Away
Late last week, OFA learned of the passing of Ron Cornell, retired OFA Executive Director. He was 84 years old and died at HealthPark Hospice in Fort Myers, FL on November 26. Many will fondly remember Ron for his years of service with OFA. He was one of the longest serving OFA Executive Director with 12 years of service from 1987 to 1998. Ron had served OFA well and was recently recognized for that service on October 9, 2014 at a ceremony at Zaleski State Forest recognizing him as a "Friend of the Forest.” I recall 4 years ago, Ron and his wife Anne visited the Paul Bunyan Show at the Guernsey County Fairgrounds at which time we were able to catch up on his many years of retirement. It is our understanding that there will be no services for Ron and he will be cremated. Those wishing to pass along condolences may do so through the Affordable Cremations and Horizon Funeral Home in Ft. Myers, FL. Click on the link to see Ron’s obituary. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, contributions can be sent to the Broadway Community Church, 3309 Broadway, Ft. Myers, FL 33901.

CAUV Property Tax Rates Continue to Get Attention
Last week, OFA had received notice from the Tax Commissioners office of more information concerning further review of CAUV property tax rates. The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) had weighed in with some recommendations on how to improve rate calculations, one of which was to review land clearing tiling rates as they relate to woodland values. Concerning these costs, OFBF indicated that they had good information on costs related to drain tile installation from NRCS and are working to get that to the Tax Commissioners office. However, costs for land clearing are not so readily available and this is an area where OFA is working to compile land clearing cost figures from members. Once again, if anyone with information that they can share, please pass that along to John Dorka (614-325-1005).

HB 490, Mid-Biennium Review Bill Still Being Discussed
HB 490, the Mid-Biennium Review bill that deals with a host of environmental considerations relating to the toxic algae issue as well as oil and gas regulations, had passed the House and has moved to the Senate, but it is getting push back from the Kasich Administration. For one, the bill affects a telecommunication issue which would eliminate a long-standing requirement for telephone companies to offer basic local service when the FCC approved regulation to shift the industry from wire line to internet technology. The Governor is opposed to this provision and is threatening to veto the entire MBR bill if this issue is not removed from the bill. ODNR Director Jim Zehringer carried this message to the Senate Agriculture Committee last week in testimony before the committee. Director Zehringer also asked the Senate Committee to delete House-added proposals to allow state lands to be forcibly included in drilling units. He further raised concerns about disclosure limits for civil and criminal penalties for oil and gas operators, provisions that reduce funding for the Mine Safety Program and related inspections, and language that would allow anyone to raise

Additional Information About EPA Biogenic Accounting and Policy Guidance
A couple weeks ago, EPA released its Accounting Framework for Biogenic CO2 Emissions from Stationary Sources. This had been a huge issue within the forest products industry as it determines whether woody biomass is considered as "carbon neutral” for carbon accounting purposes by the federal government. A preliminary review by AF&PA indicates the following:

  • bioenergy from forest-derived industrial by-products, waste-derived feedstocks, and "sustainably-derived” forest-derived feedstocks may be considered ion state implementation plans for existing electric utilities;
  • certain waste-derived feedstocks such as municipal solid waste (e.g. urban wood waste, yard trimmings) and wastewater have minimal or no net atmospheric contribution of CO2 emissions; and
  • bioenergy from forest-derived industrial by-products such as black liquor or residuals with no other current market uses, have minimal or no net atmospheric contribution of CO2 emissions or even reduce such impacts when compared to their alternative fate.

It remains to be seen how EPA will define material from "sustainable forestry practices. How that is determined will have a significant effect on the carbon neutrality consideration of woody biomass.

OSU Extension Sending Out Periodic Timber Price Report Survey, Urges Recipients to Respond
Some OFA members are aware that OSU Extension sends out a semi-annual Timber Price Survey to Ohio hardwood manufacturers to get information for completing the Ohio Timber Price Report. OSU Extension recently advised OFA that the request letter is now being mailed and asked that we encourage all who receive the request to reply. Here is a sample letterthat is mailed with the survey. Dr. Eric McConnell formerly on the OFA Board, sent this out as part of his duties. However, now that Eric has moved on to other work, Forestry Program Director Kathy Smith has temporarily taken over duties. For those OFA members who receive this request, we urge you to fill it out. This information can be a valuable guide for landowners and others who may become involved with selling timber. In spite of questions some may have about accuracy, the survey has been conducted for decadesm, and its continued publication provides important trend information with changes in stumpage prices for hardwoods.

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