MFPC legislative reception a a great evening for all
This year’s MFPC legislative reception was lively, loud and a great opportunity for legislators, state officials and members to meet or get to know each other better. About three dozen legislators, another three dozen members, state officials, lobbyists and others crowded the MFPC conference room. “It’s a place where we can be comfortable having conversations that never could take place otherwise,” said Sen. Doug Thomas, R-Somerset, a firewood dealer. “It gives our industry a chance to mingle with policymakers and get to know each other better. I think we all have a better understanding of important issues as information flows in both directions. I know I learned a lot and count it as time well spent.” Read more.
Spruce budworm conference
What’s happening in Quebec and New Brunswick
Many landowners and MFS personnel trekked to Quebec City Feb. 19-20 to participate in the CFS/MRNQ Spruce Budworm Conference. Two days of research and operations presentations were informative to the group and provide a better understanding of the possible outbreak scenarios that we may encounter in Maine this time around. It appears that Quebec will be trying to harvest threatened stands along with targeting aerial applications of Bt to protect stands from severe defoliation. In New Brunswick, which just received $18 million to tackle budworm, it appears a more aggressive intervention of insecticide applications to kill budworm larva before populations can multiply will be tried. Maine has a small window of time before we think the budworm will invade (1-2 years) so we can continue to benefit from the research conducted by our Canadian neighbors. The Maine Budworm task force will be present its current report on the Maine budworm strategy at the New England Regional Council on Forest Engineering (NERCOFE) meeting on March 10 at the University of Maine and at a meeting of the Keeping Maine’s Forest Committee on March 14.
LD 216 creates a process to harm landowners’ rights
The Council has been involved in wind power bills to the extent that land use laws are being changed. LD 616 creates a new governance process in the unorganized territory that is unprecedented and harmful to landowner rights.You can read MFPC’s concerns, which we expressed in response to an recent op-ed piece in the Bangor Daily News. We will express our concerns in the House and Senate as the bill is debated and will keep members informed.
Guns and rangers, mining and more
The debate on LD 297, which would arm Maine’s forest rangers, continues to echo in the halls of the Legislature. The initial vote in the House Feb. 25 was a strong showing — 139-7 — in favor of arming of rangers, but the issue is far from resolved. Read more.
MFS sends its findings to Taxation Committee
Maine’s tree growth tax program, which provides for current use taxation of land used for commercial forestry, came under much scrutiny in 2012 and the 125th Legislature passed a law authorizing the Maine Forest Service to audit properties enrolled in the program. The MFS report went to the Taxation Committee March 3. In addition to responding to legislative direction, MFS addressed three key questions of its own:
- Does the landowner’s management plan meet the requirements of the TGTL?
- Is the landowner following their management plan?
- Has the landowner harvested wood from their enrolled land?
MFS reports it’s gathered enough information to answer the Legislature’s and its own, “with the exception of coastal and island parcels.”
Aho calls EPA wood stove proposal a concern for Mainers
An EPA proposal to tighten emission standards for new wood stoves starting next year has created controversy across the nation and “could be prohibitively expensive,” according to Commissioner Patricia Aho of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. At a public hearing Feb. 26 in Boston, Aho testified that the stricter emission requirements could be a concern in Maine, where many rely on wood for heating, the Boston Globe reported. Other views of the proposed rules have appeared everywhere from Forbes (EPA’s Wood-Burning Stove Ban Has Chilling Consequences For Many Rural People ) to Biomassmagazine ( The EPA’s Myopia on Wood Heat). You can also see what Peter Triandafillou of Huber Resources thinks and how to testify yourself. Read more.
Celebrate at the Hall of Flags March 20!
Let’s showcase the great forest products “Made in Maine”
There are only a few spots left for the celebration of Maine’s forest products industry at the state Capitol on Thursday, March 20, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. It’s a great opportunity to tell — and especially show — legislators, lobbyists, state officials and all who visit the State House how many practical, beautiful and essential products we make. If you don’t want to showcase your business, you should still plan to come and see all the presentations. You could even try out a logging simulator, thanks to Re-Energy. For more information or to reserve your spot in the Hall of Flags, contact Sue McCarthy.
TNC provides a guide to signs of invasive forest insects
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has created a handy identification aid for holes in trees. It has pictures of bird- and bug-caused holes, as well as details regarding which are cause for further investigation as potential signs of new infestations of invasive forest insects. TNC created the guide to help those participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count spot invasives. For more information about invasive threats to Maine’s forests, visit www.maine.gov/forestpests.
Franklin county Big Tree contest is just around the corner
It’s time to start looking for big trees! The Franklin County Big Tree Contest will run from May 12 through Sept. 30. The contest this year will be to find native trees including the lesser-known trees as listed by the Maine Forest Service at Project Canopy. Once the nominations come in, Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) will work with Patty Cormier of the Maine Forest Service to measure and photograph these trees to see if they really are the biggest in Franklin County or — even better — in the state! Read more.
Since 1961, the Maine Forest Products Council has been the voice of Maine’s forest economy. The MFPC represents the diverse needs of Maine’s forest products community. Our members are landowners, loggers, truckers, paper mills, tree farmers, foresters and lumber processors, but they are also bankers, lawyers and insurance executives. We feel we represent anyone who has an interest in seeing the Maine woods remain a viable, sustainable resource. We serve our community by gathering information, bringing groups together to discuss concerns, hosting events, conducting tours and helping people find common ground. We represent our members at the Maine Legislature, but also across the state, in Washington D.C. and across the nation.
Address: 535 Civic Center Dr., Augusta ME 04330 Phone: 207-622-9288 Website: www.maineforest.org