It’s time to prepare for Maine’s 127th Legislature
The elections are over and it is time to prepare for the 127th Legislature. With one of the largest freshmen classes of legislators in recent history, a lot of relationship building and education will need to take place. At MFPC’s Board meeting Nov. 13, we had a lot of discussion about the next four years and especially the upcoming legislative session. We heard from Maine State Forester Doug Denico; John Butera, senior economic advisor to Gov. Paul LePage, and Sen. Andre Cushing, R-Penobscot,’ the assistant Senate majority leader. We’ll also be meeting with Democratic leaders. We’re starting the effort to build understanding of our industry with a mailing to all legislators. introducing the Council and some of our important issues. After spending time hosting regional breakfasts throughout the state and meeting many wonderful candidates, it’s time to congratulate the winners and get down to business. Read more.
A letter, email or call will help you and our industry
The 127th Legislature gets underway in earnest this week. The most important thing you can do for your business and our industry is to contact your legislators now, so that when we really need to be heard they will be listening. The MFPC is sending every senator and representative, new and old, a letter telling them that we’re looking forward to working with them and the pocket-size book of the industry’s economic impact.
Even more important is that they hear from the forest products people in their own districts. So now — before the mad scramble of the session begins — is the best time to introduce yourself with a note (the more personal the better), phone call or email. Invite them to your business and tell them how important it is to have a supportive economic and public policy climate for the forest products community. Let them know that if they’re considering forest issues or legislation, you’d be happy to answer questions or tell them how a bill might will affect your business. Let them how to reach you (address, phone and email.) 127th House members. 127th Senate members.
KMF hosts meeting for industry and environmental advocates
“Whose idea was this?” Executive Director Patrick Strauch joked as he reported on the lively Policy Regulation and Funding session at the “unveiling” of the spruce budworm draft plan Nov. 18. Keeping Maine’s Future hosted the meeting as about 60 people reviewed the response plan that the Maine Forest Products Council (MFPC), University of Maine and Maine Forest Service (MFS) have been working on for more than year. “In our group there was lots of energy – lots of energy!” Strauch said. “Some thought it was a good first draft and others thought we were being alarmist. I had to move out of being defensive and just take notes.” Read more.
Comments reopened on Northern Long-Eared Bat
In a very unusual move, on November 18, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service agreed to reopen the public comment process on its proposal to list the Northern Long-Eared Bat (NLEB) for protection under the Endangered Species Act. The docket will accept new comments for an additional month, closing the docket again at noon on December 18.
USFWS seems to have made this decision in view of a very well-considered letter it received from several regional coalitions of forestry and conservation officials, led by the Midwest Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies.
“I have seen the testimony sent in by the Midwest folks and agree that it is very well written and their logic seems to be sound,” said Barry Burgason, chair, MFPC/SFI Wildlife Committee. “They basically argue that the evidence does not show endangerment throughout the entire range of the NLEB and that they should either not list or list as threatened with a forestry exemption, since White-Nose Syndrome is the real issue.” Read more.
5 UMaine forestry faculty members retiring
Shaler asks MFPC members what industry needs
Steve Shaler, director of UMaine’s School of Forest Resource, told the MFPC Board that five faculty members will be retiring or resigning by December 2015, including
- Steve Sader – Remote Sensing
- Jeff Benjamin – Forest Operations
- Al White – Forest Ecology
- Al Kimball – Forest Manager and Instructor
- Rob Lilieholm – Forest Policy & Economics
Five more faculty members will be eligible for retirement in the next five years. Undergraduate enrollment is increasing – by 19 percent in 2013 and 25 percent in 2014.
So Shaler asked MFPC members, “What expertise will be needed over the next 10 years to address your challenges?” Read more.
Find out about the new technology for surveying forests
On Dec. 3 in Orono, the Maine GeoLibrary will be hosting representatives of forest landowners/managers in Maine to discuss their preferences in specifications for future Imagery and LiDAR acquisitions from 1-4 p.m. at Nutting Hall, Room 204 of Nutting Hall. The GeoLibrary’s legislative mandate directs it to ensure that state agencies, avoid duplicative efforts, coordinate GIS activities, and reduce costs of data acquisition and development. They have formed Orthoimagery and LiDAR subcommittees to develop plans for a 5-to-10 year data acquisition program (including the Unorganized Territories). Joe Young from the GeoLibrary will facilitate the meeting and anyone interested is welcome to join. The meeting will start with some presentations on the application of LiDAR and Orthoimagery in forest operations as well as various methods and specifications for the collection of this data. The GeoLibrary is very interested in how the forestry community might be using the data, timing of acquisition and product specifications and the meeting will conclude with your input. See agenda,funding strategy, parking permit and directions to Nutting Hall.
If you are interested in participating, but cannot attend, there will be an Adobe Connect session running as well as a conference call for audio. Use this link for the remote webinar: https://meet.maine.edu/geolibrary/
Our thoughts are with the family of Reggie Griffin, especially his wife, Linda Griffin, former president of the MFPC Board.(2003-2005). Reggie, who died last week, and Linda owned Jackman Lumber. Read obituary.
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.
Patrick Strauch, Executive Director;
Pat Sirois, SFI Coordinator
Roberta Scruggs, Communications Director
Sue McCarthy, Office Manager
Address: 535 Civic Center Dr., Augusta ME 04330
Phone: 207-622-9288 Website: www.maineforest.org