Secondary wood manufacturint
Secondary wood manufacturing contributes 8,884 jobs and $1.8 billion to Maine's economy, about 20 percent of the forest products industry’s impact.

2017 MFPC Golf Tournament was a big success

On behalf of the Maine Forest Products Council, we would like to thank all who participated in the 2017 Annual Summer Golf Tournament on July 13.  The tournament drew 120 golfers, more than 58 sponsors and many raffle donations.  For 10 years, Brian Flewelling from Key Bank and Sue McCarthy, MFPC office manager, have done a tremendous job in soliciting these sponsors, making the raffles a big success, and helping all the participants have a great time. The Council appreciates their hard work and the continued support of all the sponsors. (See sponsor list below.)

Below are a few of the pictures taken the day of the tournament.  We were not able to get all of the team pictures.  Winners this year were 1st Net – Chris Fitzpatrick, John Raymond, Bill Rayfield, Bill Crawford, 1st Gross – Ed Bearor, Tim Pease, Jerry Jarrell and Matt Jarrell.  Longest Drive, men – Mike O’Connor and ladies – Danielle Ahern.  Closest to the pin were Larry Girvan and Danielle Ahern.

Outstanding! MFPC honors the best of 2017

Steve Schley with his daughter Mary Grace and wife Lizabeth.

MFPC  announced its annual awards for the best of 2017 at its 57th annual meeting Sept. 18, including:

  • Steve Schley, president of Pingree Associates in Bangor, received the Albert D. Nutting Award “in recognition of his leadership and innovation in the forest industry, his passion for strategic planning, and his accomplishments as a forest landowner, business leader and conservationist.” The award has been presented annually since 1990 to a remarkable group of individuals, each of them truly unique, but with a common commitment to Maine and its forest industry. 
  • Barry Burgason, retired wildlife biologist from Huber Resources, received the Abby Holman Public Service Award “in recognition of his leadership and dedication to wildlife habitat management and his strong support for public education, as well as cooperation between sportsmen and landowners.” The Holman award recognizes outstanding service on behalf of Maine’s forest products industry.
  • Win Smith, owner of Limington Lumber in East Baldwin, was named Maine’s Outstanding Manufacturer, “in recognition of outstanding quality control, safety performance, progressive management and sustained business growth since 1961.”
  • Dan Qualey of Qualey Logging in Benedicta was chosen as Maine’s Outstanding Logger “in recognition of exemplary on the ground performance and an unwavering commitment to meeting the management objectives of the landowner.” 
  • Eric Dumond received the President’s Award from MFPC President Jim Contino, Dumond  of Waterville, formerly of ReEnergy and now vice president of procurement at Maine Biomass Exports, with a special award “in recognition of supply chain excellence for woody biomass through a unique field chipper lease-to-own program that expanded production capacity to meet growing demand from 2001 through 2016.”

More information about MFPC awards.

Don’t miss MFPC’s 2017 Annual Meeting at the Samoset

Please join your friends and colleagues at the beautiful Samoset Resort in Rockland on Sept. 17-18 for golf, great food, and practical information about what’s happening in forest products that you won’t get anywhere else, including:

Agenda 2017 annual meeting 9-6-2017

  • The challenges facing biomass — even in timber-rich states: Craig Rawlings, president and CEO of the Forest Business Network, which is in the final year of its outreach partnership with the Waste to Wisdom research project, a U.S. Department of Energy-funded effort researching how to better utilize forest residues for bioenergy and bio-based products.
  • “Nordic companies lead paper sector transformation as diversification strategy pays off,” read the headline from Moody’s Investors Service. What are they doing right? MFPC is working with the Maine International Trade Center to bring someone over to tell us how they achieved that transformation. 
  • Is combined heat and power (CHP) right for your business? Find out at our panel discussion from those who have studied the economics, incentives, financing alternatives and how to work with the utilities. 
  • Where is Maine on CLT? Get an update about what’s happened and what hasn’t from members the Maine Mass Timber Working Group.

And don’t forget the great food and fabulous golf course. 

With its sumptuous views of the Atlantic — especially on the wrap-around, par-5 fourth hole — the wide-open, eminently playable Samoset course is a great reminder of why we play golf.  Golf.com

DON’T WAIT! REGISTER NOW.

The success of this meeting depends greatly on membership support. As a MFPC member, I would like to extend to you the opportunity to participate as a sponsor. As you know, sponsorship is an essential component to all the events we hold, and it is especially important to subsidize the cost of the events. This allows broader participation of our members by keeping individual expense down. A special form for sponsorship registration is enclosed with your registration materials. We hope that you will join us for our biggest event of the year. Registration forms for all events and meals are enclosed. If you have any questions, please feel free to call our staff at 622-9288 or email Sue at smccarthy@maineforest.org. I’m looking forward to seeing you there.

Sincerely,

Jim Contino, MFPC President

Sunday, September 17th- Golf – (Samoset Country Club) -Enjoy a round of golf. 

Golf  starting at 11:15.  There will be Tee-Times for each group.   Each team player will receive one mulligan and skirt. After golf enjoy a BBQ starting at 6:00 p.m. also at Samoset

Monday September 18 – Breakfast-(Samoset) – Breakfast will be served 7:30 a.m.

Monday September 18 – Business Meeting, Presentations – business meeting and presentations will start at 8:30

Monday September 18 -Banquet – 5 p.m. -9 p.m. (Samoset Resort) Happy Hour from 5-6, Auction will start around 5:30 and Dinner at 6:30. The awards will be presented after dinner.

Download the Registration Form

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Rates are subject to a $25.00 resort fee per room, per night. The resort fee includes unlimited local and toll free calls, in room coffee, wireless internet in guest rooms and public space, access to the business center, outdoor zero entry pool, hot tub and fire pit, outdoor recreation including tennis courts, shuffleboard, basketball court and playground, nightly turn down service, concierge service, children’s activities, and access to our state of the art full service health club including indoor pool, hot tub, steam saunas, strength room, group fitness room, cardio theater, and classes.

King, Collins introduce bill to support biomass energy

U.S. Senators Angus King (I-Maine) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) along with U.S. Representatives Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) today introduced the Biomass Thermal Utilization Act of 2017, legislation that incentivizes the development of biomass as an affordable, clean, and home-grown source of energy. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), and Jeff Merkley (D-Oreg.) are also original sponsors of the bill.

“Biomass offers an efficient, inexpensive, and environmentally-friendly way for people to heat their homes and businesses, which is why it would only make sense to incentivize purchasing it like we do other low-cost types of energy,” Senator King said in the news release. “With this change, we could reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, lower energy costs, and support local economies – a true hat-trick for Maine.”

“Biomass is a sustainable and cost-effective source of power for homes and businesses and an essential part of our nation’s energy future,” said Senator Collins. “Our legislation will help more Americans upgrade to efficient, renewable biomass energy heating systems as well as support jobs tied to the forest products industry.”

“Biomass heating systems are a great way to reduce heating bills while improving the environment,” said Congressman Welch. “Using a regionally sourced fuel like wood will reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and spur Vermont’s local wood fuel industry. This bipartisan legislation will make it more affordable for Vermonters to install a modern wood heating system so they can lower their energy costs and increase our energy independence.”

“With biomass fuels an affordable and abundant natural resource in Pennsylvania, this bill would encourage the further development of advanced biomass technologies similar to other renewable energy technologies already included in the tax code. Pennsylvania’s hardwood forests are some of the finest in the world and our hardwood producers are important job creators in so many of our rural communities,” said Congressman Kelly. “The BTU Act would help harness the region’s enormous biomass production potential and be a win-win-win for America’s energy independence, security, and rural economies, where wood chips, wood pellets, and native grasses are locally produced.”

More specifically, the bill would amend the federal tax code to incentivize biomass energy through tax credits for capital costs incurred in residential and commercial installations. Tax incentives already exist for other forms of renewable energy and this bill seeks to achieve parity between those renewable systems and thermal biomass systems.

Specifically, the BTU Act would:

  • Underscore that heat from biomass is an underutilized energy source in the United States
  • Add biomass fuel property to the list of existing technologies that qualify for the residential renewable energy investment tax credit. To qualify, the biomass fuel property must operate at a thermal efficiency rate of at least 75 percent and be used to either heat space within the dwelling or heat water
  • Add open-loop biomass heating property to the list of existing technologies that qualify for the commercial renewable energy investment tax credit in the federal tax code. Qualifying biomass heating property must operate at thermal output efficiencies of at least 65 percent and be used to generate heat, hot water, steam, or industrial process heat. The credit would be two tiered: for technologies that operate at thermal output efficiencies between 65 and 80 percent, the investment tax credit is limited to 15 percent of installed capital cost. Technologies operating at thermal output efficiencies greater than 80 percent would be eligible for the full 30 percent investment tax credit.

By offering tax incentives, the legislation would encourage people and businesses to upgrade away from oil boilers to efficient wood-pellet boilers.

“We’re extremely grateful to Senator King and other leaders in the Senate who have brought the BTU Act forward this year. It is time high efficiency, advanced wood heating technology was accorded the same investment tax treatment that exists for every other renewable energy technology,” said Jeff Serfass, Executive Director, Biomass Thermal Energy Council. “We hope that the current attention on comprehensive tax reform will open up an opportunity for serious consideration of this modest, but regionally very important renewable energy incentive. Ultimately homeowners and businesses with high heating costs will be the beneficiaries, coupled with creation of new markets for sustainably harvested wood resources.”

“Automated wood heating systems are an economical and environmental win for rural forested states like Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and northern New York,” said Rob Riley, President, Northern Forest Center. “Switching from fossil heating fuels keeps heating dollars local, lowers carbon emissions, and provides markets for sustainably harvested wood from the region’s forests. The BTU Act will help accelerate adoption of this technology, and we are grateful to Senator King and his colleagues for introducing this important legislation.”

“Promoting highly efficient uses of biomass helps the nation address climate change while supporting local jobs for those in the forest products industry,” said Collin O’Mara, CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “When precautions are used to protect wildlife and ensure climate benefits, thermal biomass can be a truly sustainable domestic energy source.”

According to industry advocates, thermal biomass systems reduce heating bills can reduce heating costs by 20 to 50 percent. Wood pellets, a common biomass fuel, cost roughly the equivalent of $2.00 per gallon of heating fuel. Additionally, nearly every cent of biomass heating investments is returned to the local economy whereas 80 percent of every heating oil dollar is sent out of the state. In New York State and New England, it has been estimated that for every 100,000 tons of pellets manufactured, 342 direct jobs are manufactured.

Senator King has introduced similar legislation in the past.

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

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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.

News Archive

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MFPC Executive Committee Meeting

When: Thu December 14 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Where: MFPC Office

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