Sustainable forestry
Forest products remained Maine’s largest export industry in 2016, with $626 million in sales in 2016, nearly 22 percent of all state exports.

Anything can happen as bills move to House and Senate

Executive Director Patrick Strauch, Bill Ferdinand and I have been spending a lot of time at the Legislature mostly focused on public hearings and work sessions in front of the various committees that have jurisdiction over the many bills we are interested in, however we very much have our eyes and ears around the House and Senate sessions watching day in and day out (along with a few nights), because this is often when shenanigans happen.

Here’s the big picture. Friday is the deadline for committee work  – never mind that bills are still getting printed and referenced to committee. There’s intense pressure on the committee process, which is good if you’re trying to kill a bill. It’s bad if you’re trying to get legislation passed that’s complex, because they just don’t have the time. There’s still focus on key issues, but by and large they’re fast and furiously killing bills and carrying many of them over. Soon all the action will move to the House and Senate floors. See chart.

Budget negotiations are at a stalemate. Negotiations are underway with the Appropriations Committee and legislative leadership, however feedback is not positive to date. The current budget expires on June 30th of this year and a new biennial budget is required to start the next fiscal year on July 1st.  This requires a 2/3 vote to make it an emergency bill that takes effect (beyond the Governor’s veto authority) by midnight on the 30th of June.

So while waiting to see what unfolds, let’s look at some of the most important of the more than 130 bills MFPC has been watching this session.

ARMING RANGERS: LD 8 finally got its fiscal note, but the details are in the text, more than the numbers. It’s $136,000 for the first year and $6,000 after that. That doesn’t looks like a lot of money, but it doesn’t include training (it says because the training program hasn’t been designed yet, they can’t put a fiscal note on it) or reclassification, which would cost about $500,000. So when the bill is reported out — likely with a divide report — it will go on the Appropriations table with everything else. Then it’s a question of whether it gets funded or not. Then it’s a question of whether the governor vetoes it, although he has consistently vetoed these kinds of bills. If he vetoes, then we’ll try to sustain it.

LANDOWNER LIABILITY: LDs 11239128 all had implications for landowner liability, which was very concerning from our perspective because of the possibility of unintended consequences tinkering with the laws. There was a very strenuous discussion of the bills and, while we might have been supportive of some of the initiatives, we weren’t unhappy they’ve all been killed and the status quo was preserved. DEAD.

INDIAN TRUST LAND: I want to give credit to Tim Woodcock of Eaton Peabody for his excellent work for MFPC on LD 921, which proposed removing the time and acreage limits on placing Indian lands in federal trust. Tim helped the Judiciary Committee understand the complex Indian Lands Claim Settlement and ultimately legislators had no appetite for extending the acreage limit, but decided extending the time limit made sense because of the complexity of the state and federal process needed to place land in trust. NOT REPORTED OUT.

CITIZEN INITIATIVES: Most of the bills to tighten up the initiative process have been killed, but we’re still waiting for language on LD 31, which likely to come out of the Veterans and Legal Services Committee with a divided report. 

BIOMASS: The EUT Committee had an overwhelming agenda since they have oversight of everything from water and sewer districts, to telecommunications and energy. They had many bills and it got to the point this late in the session where they just couldn’t deal with them all. So many of the biomass initiatives that we were interested in were carried over, as well as energy bills, including LD 532, which would have removed the 100-megawatt limit on hydroelectric generators

SCENIC VIEWSHED: We supported LD 1061 in EUT because it initially would have created a stakeholders group to look carefully at visual view shed before expanding the visual impact component of wind energy. Unfortunately the DEP study group was removed from the final version passed by the EUT committee however LD 901 (amendment A) in the Natural Resources Committee was a compromise that we had no objections to because it retains the standard 8-mile limit. It’s passed in the House and Senate and is headed to the governor’s desk. 

CAPITAL GAINS:  We opposed Sections 11 and 17 of LD 1581 because they would have repealed capital gains tax rates on timberland that were put in place to discourage liquidation harvesting. Many other sections were opposed by other groups and so many concerns were raised that the Taxation Committee just killed the bill.

TOXIC CHEMICALS IN THE WORKPLACE: LD 699  was concerning to many of our manufacturing members who already have sophisticated state and federal procedures and policies in place to protect worker safety. This bill is DEAD.

STATE ASSESSMENT OF MILL PROPERTIES: To retain and attract new manufacturing in Maine we felt it was important to deal with a widely varying process among towns when they assess manufacturing properties in their towns. LD 1479  sought to create a state assessing function for large complicated facilities and create a consistent evaluation criteria. CARRY OVER REQUESTED

That brings us to the point in the session where the rubber hits the road and anything goes. We have some bills that we’re advocating for and some we’re looking to defeat. So stay tuned. It’s quite likely that we will put out a call to action for members to engage with their legislators on significant issues.

Tree Growth, excise tax and Roadmap updates

The generally positive trend in housing starts is good for our lumber manufacturers, but they are keeping a weary eye on the growing sawdust and other wood waste piles whose markets are decreasing. We have ongoing challenges but a history of resilience and innovation that will keep Maine’s forest economy vibrant for generations to come.

On another note, despite the furor of the legislative session, we have been making great progress on the Roadmap Initiative with the establishment of the executive and working committees for the  Global Assessment, Inventory, Transportation and Emerging Technologies sectors. Some of the proposal requests from committees are advertised in our May newsletter. (Request for Information Global Market Analysis and Benchmarking; Request for Proposal Maine Wood Supply Projections

This work is establishing a strategic plan that we look forward to sharing with policymakers and the public. There is also a lot of activity around new opportunities for manufacturing that we should be hearing about in the next few months. Members are traveling internationally to check out technologies that could be used in Maine and manufacturers are assessing opportunities to move their production facilities to our state.

The Governor’s Tree Growth bill finally arrived and after careful review and discussions we testified in favor of the bill as long as significant changes were made.

The Amendment to LD 1599 presented by the Maine Forest Service was responsive to these concerns and focuses on establishment of a pilot program where the MFS can conduct an audit of inactive woodlands for the purpose of helping landowners to come into compliance or assist them in switching to an appropriate taxation program. We think this limited program with a sunset provision is a good way to evaluate the extent of program misclassifications and ensures the long-term integrity of the Tree Growth law and public support of the program.

The majority of the Taxation Committee did not support the bill and voted ought not to pass (9 to 3) with a letter to stakeholders to meet and bring suggestions to the table next session.  But after meeting with the administration and stakeholders this week, MFPC thinks the minority report has merit and will support its passage. 

LD 541 An Act Regarding the Commercial Forestry Excise Tax bounced back to the committee for an updated vote. I’ve previously referred to this bill as a political football, which has been transformed from a proposal to increase the tax rate to an outright repeal of the tax in its current form. The Republicans have consistently supported our ONTP position on the bill and a $2.5 million dollar fiscal note likely makes the bill DOA. So although we won’t fight an elimination of the tax, landowners don’t get your hopes up!

The MFPC staff followed more than 130 industry-related bills through this session, and Michele McLean has written her column  about some of the others that are important to us.

On another note, despite the furor of the legislative session, we have been making great progress on the Roadmap Initiative with the establishment of the executive and working committees for the  Global Assessment, Inventory, Transportation and Emerging Technologies sectors. Some of the proposal requests from committees are advertised in the our May newsletter. (Request for Information Global Market Analysis and Benchmarking; Request for Proposal Maine Wood Supply Projections

This work is establishing a strategic plan that we look forward to sharing with policymakers and the public. There is also a lot of activity around new opportunities for manufacturing that we should be hearing about in the next few months. Members are traveling internationally to check out technologies that could be used in Maine and manufacturers are assessing opportunities to move their production facilities to our state.

The generally positive trend in housing starts is good for our lumber manufactures, but they are keeping a weary eye on the growing sawdust and other wood waste piles whose markets are decreasing. We have ongoing challenges but a history of resilience and innovation that will keep Maine’s forest economy vibrant for generations to come.

‘Good day for all’ at the Hall of Flags

On April 27, the Hall of Flags was crowded, the exhibits were colorful, the conversations were animated and a steady stream of legislators saw and heard what’s going right in the state’s forest products industry. 

“It was a good day for all!” Al Feather of Hammond Lumber emailed MFPC the next day. “Thanks for all your efforts at the recent Maine Forest Products Day at the Capitol’s Hall of Flags.”

This was the third time MFPC has organized the event and more members and industry partners turned out than ever before.

“This event was a great opportunity for University of Maine scientists to interact with Maine legislators on forestry problems and opportunities,” said Brian Roth, acting director of the Cooperative Forestry Research Unit.  

Bringing the exhibits into the State House, including lumber, the SFI flume table and Robbins Lumber’s “cookie” showing events ranging back to Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, presented a challenge, but everyone pitched into help.

“The MFPC’s Forest Products Day is a great opportunity to network with other companies in the forest products sector and to visit with the many state legislators who swing through to visit,” said Sarah Boggess of ReEnergy.

Forest products are still Maine’s top export in 2016

Despite a 15 percent decline in pulp and paper exports, forest products remained Maine’s largest export industry with $626 million in sales in 2016.

The Maine International Trade Center recently has compiled a detailed report, Maine Forest Products Council – 2016 Trade Statistics, for forest products.

There’s a lot to dig into in the report, but here are some highlights:

  • Despite the drop in paper, forest products still account for nearly 22 percent of all Maine exports.
  • In the U.S., forest products edged slightly up, 2.24 to 2.25, as a percentage of total U.S. exports.
  • Canada remains Maine’s top trading partner for paper and wood products by a wide margin, and is second to China on wood pulp and recovered paper, with Sweden moving up fast to take the third spot. See Maine’s Top 10 Forest Products Exports by Country below. 
  • If you look at exports by commodities, our industry claims three spots on the top 10 list, for paper (3rd), wood products (5th), and wood pulp/recovered paper (7). Fish, Crustaceans &Aquatic Invertebrates were No. 1, and Aircraft, Spacecraft and Parts Thereof was No. 2.

MFPC 2017 Annual Golf Tournament

 You’re invited  to theMFPC Logo small 6-25-2013

MAINE FOREST PRODUCTS COUNCIL

 2017 SUMMER GOLF TOURNAMENT

Bangor Municipal Golf Course in Bangor

July 13, 2017

2017 MFPC Golf Registration Form

Play Rain or Shine

4 persP1010668xon Scramble Format

Fee $100 per person

Includes 18 holes of golf with cart & reception

Check in 12-00 – 12:30 pm – Shotgun Start 1:00pm

Send Form and Check made out to Maine Forest Products Council to
Sue McCarthy
535 Civic Center Drive
Augusta, Maine 04330

Sponsorship Opportunities

$250 Hole Sponsorship (company name advertised at hole)
$300 Banner Sponsorship (banner hung on outside marquee)
$500 Equipment Advertisers (bring in own equipment to display on course.)
$1000 Cart Sponsors (advertise company on carts, can be split @ $500 each)
$500 Reception Sponsors (sponsor the 19 Hole Reception after tournament.)
$800 Prize Sponsors (sponsor the cash prizes paid to 1st Gross and 1st Net winners)
$400 Prize Sponsors (sponsor the cash paid to 2nd Gross and 2nd Net winners)
$300 Prize Sponsors (golf Balls for 3nd Gross and 3nd Net winners)

Raffle Items Needed

IMG_1599P1000103

 

 

With deadline six weeks away, legislative pace picks up

Although the 128th Legislature got off to a slow start, the pace has most definitely picked up. We are halfway through the session and bills are coming fast and furious. Many of these bills have had public hearings, but haven’t had work sessions yet. So with the deadline nearing to get bills out, the next six weeks will be incredibly busy.

I encourage everybody to pay attention to MFPC’s legislative update and members are always welcome to participate in the policy conference calls on Friday mornings at 8:30 a.m. Just contact Sue McCarthy for information about how to phone in.

With so much going on, I’ll focus today on brief updates.

ARMING RANGERS: Still no details or a fiscal note on exactly how LD 8 proposes to arm and train rangers.

LANDOWNER LIABILITY: LD 128, Sen. Tom Saviello’s bill regarding foraging, has been getting some media attention, but is still tabled in ACF, while the other two landowner liability bills, LD 39 and LD 112, are being discussed by a stakeholder group in Judiciary. We’ve met now a couple of times with the committee analyst and we’re waiting for information to come back to the committee before these bills are worked again. This is a complex issue because what seems to be an easy solution doesn’t always work out that way with lots of unintended consequences. MFPC is there to insure that no matter what – if any – bills were to pass, the liability protections that landowners currently have when the public accesses their property remains in place.

MINING: There are a number of bills and initiatives before ENR and they run the gamut from LD 395, which would adopt the proposed rules that DEP promulgated (MFPC supports) to various bills that seek to either repeal or minimize the mining opportunities that the statute affords. The committee is just starting to take on the post-hearing work on those bills. The issue generally will be around for some time because it’s so complex. So stay tuned.

EDUCATION: Rep. William Tuell’s bill, LD 840, would expand the educational opportunities for students in the unorganized territory (UT). As written, the bill would allow UT students to go to school wherever they want and the cost, including travel, would be borne by the UT, affecting the UT budget and everybody’s tax bill. MFPC opposes this bill and testified that the process should be the same in the UT as in other school districts.

ENERGY: There are a number of initiatives before the EUT committee, including LD 532, another attempt to remove the 100-megawatt limit on hydro generation, which MFPC opposed. The committee is waiting for the PUC’s annual report on Maine’s renewable energy portfolio before it moves forward. MFPC supported LD 822, An Act to Ensure Fairness among Large Consumers of Natural Gas which attempts to address inequity between similar manufacturing facilities that source their natural gas from Maine gas utilities vs the federal pipeline. Right now if you get natural gas at a manufacturing facility from a federal pipeline, you don’t pay an assessment to the natural gas conservation fund which is the Efficiency Maine fund. However, if you buy it locally from a Maine gas utility, then you are subject to the conservation fund assessment. This bill attempts to level the playing field.

SUNDAY HUNTING: All the bills on Sunday hunting – and they run the gamut – have been grouped together for public hearings on Thursday, April 6, in IFW. MFPC will oppose LD 61,  LD 109, LD 189, LD 485 and LD 694 .

TOXIC CHEMICAL ACT: Along with many others, including the governor’s office, MFPC opposed LD 699 in Labor because it would create a new and other layer of regulation around toxics in the workplace used by employees on top of the current state Toxic Use Reduction Act and federal regulations.

COMMERCIAL FORESTRY EXCISE TAX: MFPC opposed LD 541, which would have broken the connection between the tax and the cost of fighting fires. Only the sponsor, Rep. Craig Hickman testified in favor of the bill, which hasn’t had a work session yet.

SCENIC VIEW BOUNDARIES: LD 901 would expand the view range from 8 to 15 miles for wind energy projects. MFPC opposed, along with a number of landowners, contractors, wind energy companies, the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and others. There was a support from the environmental community for the bill’s more restrictive approach. A work session on the bill was tabled because EUT has a hearing on another bill, 1061, next Tuesday (April 4) that would pull a stakeholder group together through DEP to look at the scenic view issue and bring recommendations back to the Legislature. That seems to be a conversation that people would rather have before any bill passing. MFPC supports LD 1061.

BUY AMERICA, BUILD MAINE: Public hearings have been held on two familiar and nearly identical bills. Sen. Troy Jackson started this effort in 2013 with LD 890 (vetoed), Rep. John Martin continued it in 2015 with LD 407 (died between the houses) and now Troy Jackson has proposed LD 956 and Sen. Saviello has put in LD 895 this session. The only difference between them is that Sen. Jackson has added language to favor in-state contractors and that’s what the discussion is focused on right now, preferential treatment in bidding of state contracts to Maine-based companies.

Forest economy ‘roadmap’ is now under construction

 

Our long-awaited and much-discussed “roadmap” for Maine’s forest economy is under construction now and it has a new name: the Forest Economic Growth Initiative.

The overall goal of the project is to identify Maine’s forest product market capabilities and competitiveness, and quantify Maine’s future wood supply, so we can develop a Vision & Roadmap for Maine’s future forest products economy. The results will encourage private investment in industrial, commercial, and other economic development in this important regional industry.

As proposed, this project would cost $2.4 million over three years. Phase 1 funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) has been granted, and an MTI grant will provide the 20 percent matching funds. An application for Phase 2 funding will be submitted to EDA in fall 2017.

The project will be guided by a 10-12 person executive committee, comprised of the four forest industry organizations (Maine Forest Products Council, Small Woodland Owners of Maine, the Professional Logging Contractors and Biobased Maine), the Maine Forest Service, the University of Maine, and the subcommittee chairs. Each task will be managed by a 8-10 person subcommittee (see descriptions below) chaired by an industry representative. A 40-person advisory committee, including representatives of forest industry companies and other stakeholders, will provide critical feedback and input throughout the process.

Each task in the work plan below has a distinct and valuable deliverable that can be shared real time. Integration of all the deliverables into a strategic Roadmap is also critical for success in the long-term.

The project is divided into teams of experts in the fields of study. Each Team has a chair that oversees the management of the project task. Staff support will include meeting scheduling, facilitation, agendas and minutes; drafting of RFPs; and managing consultants.

GLOBAL MARKET AND BENCHMARKING TEAM:

Maine forest industries need to better understand emerging and potential markets for forest products, and match that with Maine’s forest resource on both short term and long term time horizons. A better understanding of global markets will create opportunities for new and expanded forest products businesses, a more diversified forest economy, high value exports, and increased jobs and wages. Global forces in the forest industry are affecting northeast markets and to plan Maine’s future we need to identify market trends and manufacturing opportunities that complement our species mix and current mill capacities. Maine cannot compete with short rotation eucalyptus in South America, but what market opportunities exist in the world for products manufactured from our unique spruce-fir forests? This initiative will identify the top forest product opportunities for Maine to pursue that will form the framework of the strategic industry plan.

Capital is being invested in competing regions of the world and Maine needs to understand through benchmarking of resource and business factors what are the elements of building an effective forest economy and attracting capital to rural Maine. This task will identify Maine’s competitive strengths as well as the areas where improvement is necessary so that we can develop specific actions to leverage strengths and address weaknesses as part of the industry strategic plan.

This team, which held its first meeting March 29, is working to select an appropriate global consultants through a RFQ and RFP process. Once the consultant is hired the group will convene regular feedback sessions with the vendor to build a strong final product.

WOOD FIBER AVAILABILITY TEAM

This work will be an ongoing collaborative effort and responsibility of the Maine Forest Service and the University of Maine that will be periodically updated.

Phase One: This immediate effort will provide preliminary forest modeling information that allows planners to see what species are available for manufacturers and approximate regions where this growth and harvest occurs. This cursory work (year 1) can be coupled with the global market analysis to enable immediate initiatives.

Phase two: This longer range effort builds a more sophisticated ability to model the growth of the forest in specific regions of the state and predict long range supplies with a variety of wood demand scenarios. Past work enabled completion of the budworm action plan that is in implementation phase. Large capital investment in the forest industry require long term planning and understanding of forest growth dynamics.

FORESTRY SUBSECTOR ANALYSIS TEAM

This team will conduct a Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations and Results (SOAR) analysis of forest sectors, communities, and capital investors in Maine. Our Maine companies need to be sustained and understanding their business needs and ideas about future opportunities is an important element in preparing a roadmap forward.

Understanding the needs and ideas about future opportunities of forest economy businesses is an important element. This task involves analyzing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing each sector of the forest products economy through a series of facilitated stakeholder meetings at various stages in the process. These results will be compiled into a summary reports that will inform the strategic industry plan.

This group will plan and organize the plenary sessions designed to seek input and respond to preliminary findings of the project. The Advisory group is a way to encourage broad industry, community and government buy-in to the process.

TRANSPORTATION SUBSECTOR ANALYSIS TEAM:

This team will conduct a transportation analysis to determine where infrastructure improvements are necessary to increase margins for the forest products value chain.

Major shifts have occurred with mill closures and wood flow delivery patterns throughout the state. Identifying efficiencies that can be gained through modern dispatching and increase coordination of backhauls (increase the tons of wood moved per day) could make trucking operations more competitive with other regions.

Consultant John Melrose has conducted a preliminary analysis of the of the Maine transportation infrastructure with recommendations for further study. ongoing meetings to discuss material transportation flows and potential central dispatching concepts are part of the discussions as this team prepares the plan for further investigations.

COMBINED HEAT AND POWER (CHP) SUBSECTOR TEAM

Support and grow markets for low-value underutilized wood and biomass, utilizing state-of-the-art CHP (Combined Heat and Power) biomass plants, microgrids, and modern thermal systems.

Markets for low value wood and mill residuals (logging operations and sawmills) are critical to the continued profitability of loggers, landowners and wood manufacturing facilities. USDA & DOE resources and experience are an important opportunity for Maine interests in developing a holistic biomass energy plan to promote CHP platforms, modern heat installations and micro-grid operations. These funds enable continued resource sharing and site visits (e.g. Oak Ridge National Laboratory) to federal agencies and policy leaders to examine options for this critical opportunity in Maine.

EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES SUBSECTOR TEAM

Explore emerging technologies and integrate Biobased Maine and University efforts into industry strategic plan. This team is composed of experts representing new technologies in wood utilization for nano-cellulose, biofuels, sugars and solid wood technologies like cross laminated timbers (CLT).

As the industry transitions into new technologies, this group analyzes potential opportunities and informs the overall team on research coordination and marketability of potential new markets. Regular inquiries are happening in Maine and this group can ensure these opportunities are incorporated into our short term and long term strategic planning.

INTEGRATION AND MARKETING PLAN DEVELOPMENT

The Executive Committee will be selecting a consultant to integrate the findings of the Roadmap effort into a summary document that outlines important recommendations to policy makers, industry members and government officials to build a strong long-term forest industry. Additionally this effort will culminate on a Marketing plan that will help shape Maine’s identified strengths into a marketing effort that will attract capital investment.

With the collected data and established policy directives Maine will demonstrate that it has established a roadmap and commitment to capital investors. Aggressively marketing Maine’s competitive strengths requires an organized effort and compilation of our labor forces, forest resources and business incentives to investors both in Maine and out. This task also includes creating a system to connect prospects to resources and requires collaboration with State, Trade Center and business development organizations.

 

Urge congressional support for Future Logging Careers

By Ryan Rhodes, FRA Director of Public Relations and Government Affairs

Action Requested by Forest Resources Association (FRA): Contact your Congressman and Senator and urge them to support the Future Logging Careers Act Sponsored in the House by Rep. Poliquin (R-ME) and Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) as well as it’s Senate companion bill with sponsors Sen. Angus King I-(ME) and Sen. Risch(R-ID).

Background:  The Future Logging Careers Act would ensure that the next generation of mechanical timber harvesters can gain on-the-ground safety training and experience under the close supervision of their parents. Timber harvesting operations are similar to family farms with sophisticated and expensive harvesting equipment that requires young men and women to learn how to run the business, including equipment operation and maintenance, prior to the age of eighteen.

The agriculture industry enjoys regulatory exemptions that permit family members between the ages of sixteen and seventeen to participate and learn the operations of the family business under the direct supervision of their parents.  However, young men and women in families who own and operate timber harvesting companies are denied the opportunity to work and learn the family trade until the age of eighteen.  This bill amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to allow for sixteen and seventeen year olds in mechanized logging operations to work in the business under parental supervision.

Take Action: Please enter your voting address on the web form attached, and then review and revise (if you wish) the template letter. Once you have reviewed the letter, click “Print/Send” to automatically e-mail it to your House member and Senators.

TAKE ACTION HERE!

2017 MFPC Legislative Reception worth the wait!

After a huge snowstorm Feb. 9 forced postponement of MFPC’s 2017 Legislative Reception, we rescheduled for March 9 and it was worth the wait. Attendance was great, the conversation was lively and the buffet was terrific. MFPC members had a wonderful opportunity to talk with legislators – and vice versa. Special thanks to Office Manager Sue McCarthy who planned the event, took the photos and made everyone feel welcome.

 

MFPC focuses on landowner liability, ranger training

We already know that we’re going to have a pretty healthy legislative agenda, but  between the learning curve for new members and the days missed due to bad weather, this session is off to a slow start. 

So far, though, we’ve got three landowner liability bills between the Judiciary Committee and ACF, so we’ll continue to have conversations about landowner liability (LD 39, LD 112LD 128). MFPC’s Landowner Committee had an in-depth discussion Tuesday about the bills and how to clarify and protect landowner liability.

We’re also working on our testimony in opposition to  LD 541, which would alter the way the Commercial Forestry Excise Tax is calculated.

Although we’ve only had hearings on a few bills before the ACF Committee, they have voted with a majority report on LD 8 to train and arm rangers, but we’re still waiting to see the definition on the term “train.” That hasn’t come back before the committee,  there’s nothing scheduled yet, and we’re waiting for the fiscal note. 

We know there are Tree Growth-related bills coming, but they haven’t been available to us yet.

Sunday hunting continues to be a theme. There are multiple bills that will be coming up before the IFW Committee at a later date. They’re trying to hold all those bills until they can be grouped together for a public hearing. I think it will go as it usually does and none of the bills will get traction, but it’s a new Legislature, you can’t ever say for sure. 

The other big conversation at the State House now is the debate on citizen-initiated referendum reform. The latest was LD 564, to increase the number of the signatures required. But there all kinds of proposals on the table, such as making a certain percentage of signatures come from each congressional district or each state Senate district. There seems to be some sentiment that to tighten the rules on on initiating a referendum. I think if they’re going to do it, they need to do it now because we already have some citizen-initiated referendums in the works. Two years from now we’ll have the gubernatorial and legislative elections, and that will be seen as the time to get people out to vote on these ballot initiatives. The governor is supportive of reform. We expect to see a working group on this issue, but it hasn’t been announced yet.

Just a note that MFPC members might find interesting, the Democratic caucus is trying to organize its base, so the leadership is holding a town hall forum, in conjunction withCan-Am Crown International sled dog race, in Fort Kent Friday (March 3) at 6:30 p.m. at the university. Senate Minority Leader Troy Jackson of Allagash, House Speaker Sara Gideon of Freeport, Assistant Senate Minority Leader Nathan Libby of Lewiston and Assistant House Majority Leader Jared Golden of Lewiston are expected to attend. 

1 2 3 21

News Archive

Calendar of Events

MFPC Executive Committee Meeting

When: Thu July 6 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Where: Augusta

MFPC Golf Tournament

Golf Tournament at the Bangor municipal golf course in Bangor, Maine
When: Thu July 13 1:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Where: Bangor Municipal Golf course

MFPC Executive Committee Meeting

When: Thu August 10 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Where: Augusta

MFPC Annual Meeting

When: Sun September 17 12:00 PM - Mon September 18 11:00 PM

Executive Committee Meeting

When: Thu October 12 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Membership Benefits

Up-to-Date Information
Sign up to receive MFPC Forest News, MFPC Forest Advocacy Review, Forest Products News, and Maine’s forest products industry.

 

Legislative Advocacy & Regulatory Monitoring
Make your voice heard in Augusta and Washington! MFPC employs three lobbyists who stay on top of legislative and regulatory initiatives affecting Maine’s forest products industry.

 

Networking
You’re invited! Take advantage of the Council’s many opportunities to visit with the who’s who of Maine’s forest products industry at any of our special events.

become-a-member