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Weekly News 11/7/2011

Posted By John Dorka, Monday, November 7, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Weekly News 11.7.11

  • Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) News.  APHIS and ODA are in the process of moving forward with tree removals in Clermont County in an attempt to eradicate the ALB.  Recently, a publicly outcry has emerged as the recommendations call for the removal of un-infested host trees within a specific radius of infested trees.  The removal of currently healthy trees is part of a science panel recommendation to eradicate the pest.  Many affected landowners do not want un-infested trees removed.  A significant public push-back has started.  There have been 2 other significant ALB outbreaks in the northeast and Chicago areas over the last 10 years that were effectively dealt with using these eradication actions.  As understandably difficult as the recommendation is for landowners not wanting healthy trees removed, OFA supports the science panel recommendations.  We weighed in with state elected officials to let them know we believe these actions are appropriate, necessary, and responsible.  If the ALB is not eradicated, there will be another truly destructive insect attacking our forests.

  • Coalition for Transportation Productivity (CTP).  Actions for federal highway truck weight reform have picked up as Congress has decided to begin hearings on the Highway Reauthorization Bill.  CTP and its affiliated organizations are working hard to get the language and intent of HR 763, The Safe and Efficient Transportation Act (SETA) included in the highway bill.  Many contacts are taking place with Congressional representatives as well as state Transportation agencies to urge their support for the initiative.  OFA, with a number of other CTP representatives, will be meeting and conferencing with ODOT staff this week to discuss the proposal and recommend Ohio administrative support.  We also continue to weigh in with selected Congress members on their support for the bill.

  • ODA Director Zehringer Being Considered for ODNR Post.  Current ODA Director James Zehringer is being considered for appointment as the new Director of ODNR, replacing David Mustine who took an energy-related appointment in the newly created JobsOhio non-profit agency.  The Kasich administration requested an Ethics Commission review to determine if there were any ethics issues involved in a transfer to ODNR.  The Ethics Commission advised that there were few limits that would be placed on the new Director. 

  • American Tree Farm System (ATFS) "Capitol Fly-In”.  ATFS is hosting a "Capitol Fly-In” on March 13-14, 2012 to get Tree Farm members to contact their Congressional Representatives about issues affecting Tree Farmers.  The 2-day session will start with an advocacy training session on the first day, giving Tree Farmers the tools to interact with their representatives.  The second day will involve meetings with Congress.  If you want more information about the session, you can email AFTS directly here:

  • Pallet Enterprise Article on Biomass.  Pallet Enterprise Magazine carried an interesting article on rising demand for woody biomass and what it will mean to traditional wood markets.  The article indicates that we have not yet felt the impact of the increased demand but will do so in the near future as renewable and alternative fuels projects come on line and the mandates from Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) in state laws loom closer and closer.  An expert quoted in the article indicates that over the next few years, American wood demand could bump up 100 million green tons per year to meet energy requirements.  That’s huge.  The article also cites what is happening in the United Kingdom where pallet recyclers are now competing against biomass facilities for used pallets.  Government policies have created a situation where it is more cost effective to burn used pallets than to recycle them.  There is alarm that if the trend continues, the price of timber could more than double current levels.  That would have severe impacts on existing markets.

  • SFI and LEED Standards.  The ongoing struggle by SFI to be included as an acceptable forest certification program through LEED is well documented.  Recently, USDA Secretary Vilsack announced the findings of a USDA scientific report that indicated the benefits of wood in green construction.  Attached is a USDA announcement on the report and Secretary Vilsack points out that the sustainability of forest products can be verified through any third-party rating system.  There is a link in the news release that takes you to the executive summary of the USDA report and it indicates that using wood and wood products in general has significant economic and environmental benefits in construction.  Finally you can read an SFI article in which the author makes a strong argument for recognizing SFI in the LEED rating system.

  • Wood Education and Resource Center (WERC) Newsletter.  Here is a link to the most recent WERC Newsletter.  WERC has a long list of workshops and seminars planned for those in the wood industry, including drying lumber, business strategies for value added wood products manufacturers, upholstery frame workshop, promoting locally made wood products, small sawmill business strategies, and new technologies for value-added wood products (cabinets, furniture, and millwork).  The only problem is that most of the workshops are in Princeton, WV.

  • Purdue Investigates Poplar Trees as a Biofuel.  Purdue University is conducting a five-year study on 69 varieties of poplar grown on two sites in Indiana to determine which varieties have the best growth characteristics to supply wood for ethanol production.  In a companion study, researches are using genetic engineering to determine how altering genes can make cellulosic conversion more efficient.  Researchers have long considered that finding an efficient way to break down cellulose into sugars for ethanol production is the Holy Grail in woody biomass.  Here is a link to an article on the project.

  • ODNR Makes Plans to Harvest on State Parks.  Here is a brief article from WOUB News in Athens, Ohio concerning ODNR conducting a public meeting in Athens to discuss initial plans to harvest on SE Ohio State Parks.  DOF was at the meeting to answer questions about harvesting, as DOF staff will have responsibility to plan and conduct harvests through their standard state forest harvest procedures.

  • Matthew Bloomfield Obituary.   Within the last month, I had reported that Matthew Bloomfield, a worker with Mike Sark Farm Logging, a Master Logging Company from Pedro, Ohio, was killed on a logging job.  A request for donations to help pay funeral costs was sent to OFA membership at that time.  Many thanks to those who assisted.  However, it appears that there is still an outstanding bill for the expenses.  Last week, the bill remained at approximately $2500.  If you feel so moved to help, you can contact the funeral home directly:  Again, thank you so much for anything you can do.

  • Air Evac Lifeteam (AEL) Emergency Life flight Services.  OFA was contacted by and met with a representative of Air Evac Lifeteam about a member benefit program for emergency life flight services.  Very briefly, AEL offers life flight services in a large portion of Ohio and 14 other states and is within quick response of most OFA members.  For a small individual annual fee, members may secure life flight services that would pay full costs in the event AEL services are needed and used.  The OFA Board will consider whether a cooperative agreement with AEL will provide a reasonable benefit to our membership.  Attached is a Fact Sheet on the proposed program for OFA.

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