Lots going on, from industry’s economic impact to BETR/BETE
By Executive Director Patrick Strauch
The MFPC staff has been working hard and there’s lots of news about legislative activity, court cases and especially our new report on Maine’s Forest Economy which shows our economic impact and much more. (See more about the report below).
On another front, the state budget that passed in June includes the establishment of two task forces that should be very important to many of Maine’s businesses, particularly manufacturers. The Tax Expenditure Review Task Force was established to identify $40 million in cuts to Maine “tax expenditures.” The BETR/BETE Conversion Task Force will study the conversion of the BETR program into the BETE program. Jon Block from Pierce Atwood has established a working group and individual members are encouraged to join to take advantage of his expertise.
To provide some context on the dependence of our membership on the BETR program, my quick analysis shows participation by member categories to total $15,308,694. This is roughly composed of paper mills, sawmills, composite board and loggers. Read more.
Catch up on all the news from a great annual meeting
The 53rd annual MFPC annual meeting at Sugarloaf Inn Sept. 8-9 was jam-packed with hot topics (spruce budworm), important information (including the $8 billion impact of Maine’s Forest Economy), and plenty of fellowship. You’ll want to check out all the news, photos and presentations.
One of the highlights was the presentation of the 2013 awards. This year’s winners were:
- Maine’s Outstanding Logger Award: Sam Andrews, Andrews Timber Company
- Maine’s Outstanding Forester Award: David Cole, American Forest Management.
- Outstanding Manufacturer: ReEnergy Holdings.
- Albert D. Nutting Award: Clifton E. Foster.
- Abby Holman Public Service Award: Dr. Bob Wagner.
- President’s Award: Patrick Strauch.
Sponsors needed for next week’s legislators’ tour
The Maine Forest Products Council is partnering with the Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department to host a Woods and Wildlife Tour for legislators next week, October 2-3. The itinerary is attached for your reference. The goal is to provide a first-hand forest experience and connect legislators with individuals, organizations and resources to help them develop informed decisions in the upcoming legislative session. We will start with a tour of Kennebec Lumber and continue up to The Forks region, staying overnight at Northern Outdoors. We will be visiting a mechanized logging site on Wagner Forest Management land.Presentations will be given by MFPC, IFW, Maine Forest Service, SFI, Jim Contino of of Verso Paper, Keeping Maine’s Forests and others.
If you would like to attend at any part of the tour, please let us know. If you missed the spruce budworm presentation at the annual meeting, you can hear it after dinner Wednesday evening. To make this tour happen we need your help. The cost per legislator is approx. $200 and we are trying to get at least 30 on this tour. Below are a list of options to help with sponsorship. Contact Sue McCarthy. If you would like to help or to attend. Sponsor an Individual Legislator: $200; Tour Bus Sponsor: $800; Breakfast Sponsor: $400; Lunch Sponsor: $300; Dinner Sponsor: $500.
Maine SIC wins national award at SFI conference
Maine’s SFI Implementation Committees was honored last week for “its efforts to connect communities to sustainable forestry” during SFI’s 2013 Annual Conference last week in San Antonio. The Maine SFI Implementation Committee was chosen “for bringing together stakeholders from around the state in a project to protect habitats for Atlantic salmon and native brook trout by promoting improved stream crossings, fish passage and water quality protection.” Read more.
Maine SIC Coordinator Pat Sirois and MFPC Communications Director recently taped an episode of the show Wildfire with hosts George Smith and Harry Vanderweide. The show has finished its run on Time Warner’s channel 9, which reaches 300,000 locations in Maine, but can still be seen on sponsor Maine Audubon’s website.
Win a Fish Friendly Ice Shack and improve fish passage!
Buy a raffle ticket and you might win one of two Fish Friendly Ice Shacks. What makes them “Fish Friendly?” All proceeds from the raffle will be used to upgrade snowmobile stream crossings to improve fish passage and habitat connectivity. Snowmobile trails can impact stream crossings and fragment habitat just as roads do.
Pat Sirois and his crew are building the ice shacks now (winning ice shack may differ from shack in photo). The value of each ice shack is estimated at $2,000. These raffle tickets — $10 each and three for $20 — make great stocking stuffers and might just provide you or your favorite angler with a very Happy New Year! The drawing will be held Monday, Dec. 30, and you don’t have to be present to win. Read more.
The battle over bear-hunting methods begins again
As animal rights groups again try to ban bear baiting, trapping and hunting with hounds, those who support Maine’s bear hunters announced their own coalition, which includes MFPC, to defeat the proposed referendum.
“Just as we were asked 10 years ago (during a failed referendum attempt), once again Maine voters are being asked, ‘Who should be entrusted with the care of Maine’s wildlife?'” said Chandler Woodcock, commissioner of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. “Please make no mistake. This is not about hunting methods, but a referendum on how we manage and control wildlife in this state.” Read the commissioner’s complete statement and the Bangor Daily News story.
James Cote, campaign manager for Save Maine’s Bear Hunt, handed out a media packet that includes statements from several coalition members and facts about Maine’s bear population.
USFWS proposes revision to lynx critical habitat in Maine
In response to two lawsuits, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is publishing a proposed rule to designate revised critical habitat for the contiguous U.S. distinct population segment (DPS) of the Canada lynx and to revise the boundary of the Canada lynx DPS.has again proposed protected critical habitat for Canada lynx in six states, including Maine. The proposed unit also includes additional lands in the Van Buren area of eastern Aroostook County (217 square miles) and the Herseytown-Stacyville area of northern Penobscot County (304 square miles). MFPC plans to review and comment on the revised designation. Public comments can be provided until December 26 (Docket No. FWS-R6-ES-2013-0101). An informational meeting will be held on Monday, Nov. 4 from 7-9 p.m. at the George W. Stearns High School auditorium at 199 State St., Millinocket.