A lawsuit in progress and a legislative session coming soon
This month’s newsletter celebrates another successful annual meeting, one that — although masked — allowed the membership to see one another in person.
I’m grateful the Gov. Janet Mills could spend some informal time with us at the barbecue Sunday and spoke to us during the annual meeting Sept. 20. She is certainly tuned into our issues and forthright in her support. Roberta did a great job assembling the speakers and organizing the programming, and Sue made sure all the details were taken care of. A great job by both!
We have taken the step to bring a lawsuit against the administration for a bad public policy bill that passed through the legislative process. Read BDN story. The Executive Committee asked the MFPC Board of Directors to decide whether to pursue legal action. At a special conference call, the issue was debated and the group voted to move forward with litigation. We think the constitutional merits of the case are strong and we look forward to the courts examination of the issues we’ve raised.
PFAS continues to be on the minds of Maine policymakers as evidenced by additional titles being submitted this session. It will be helpful for EPA to take a more active role in dealing with this issue. Read more.
The Maine Forest Products Council’s 61st Annual Meeting focused on the issues and outlook for Maine’s forest economy
A new economic impact study, great presentations on the outlook for wood and pulp and paper markets and a great slate of award winners all contributed to a outstanding annual meeting Sept. 19-20 at the Sugarloaf Hotel in Carrabasset Valley. About 90 people attended the meeting.
Our annual membership meeting started with a barbecue on Sunday, Sept. 9, which was delicious, fun and allowed members to catch up with friends and colleagues.
At the morning business meeting Sept. 20, outgoing President Gordon Gamble of Wagner handed over his gavel to new MFPC Board President Ryan McAvoy of SAPPI who welcomed back Peter Triandafillou as secretary and John Gray as treasurer.
Executive Director Patrick Strauch filled members in on a lot of activity, including new economic research — Statewide Economic Contribution of Maine’s Forest Products Sector — about Maine’s forest products industry by Megan Bailey and Sheldon Green of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center. Despite some challenging years, Maine’s forest products industry contributed an estimated $8.1 billion to the economy — about $1 out of every $25 in Maine gross state product is associated with the forest products industry. The industry also contributed 31,822 jobs in 2019, so roughly 1 out of 25 jobs in Maine is associated with the forest products sector.
“This research shows that Maine is still a great place for a forest industry,” Strauch said. “The global economy is evolving rapidly and there are clearly many challenges ahead, but the forest products industry is reinventing itself to meet them.” Read more
- Robert Wagner, Is the Science of Forest Vegetation Management Dead?
- Ivan Fernandez, Forest Carbon Recommendations
- Rocky Goodnow, Forest Economic Advisors, Outlook for Wood Markets
- Sage Duguay, Fisher International, Pulp and Paper Industry Outlook
- Jeff Hatcher, managing director, Indufor North America, and Brianna Bowman, FOR:Maine program director, Update on Forest Economy Roadmap
Outstanding! MFPC honors the best of 2021
Albert Nutting Award: Peter Triandafillou, Huber Resources, for his leadership, integrity, and long-term commitment to sustainable forest management. Read more.
Abby Holman Public Service Award: Albro Cowperthwaite for blending forestry and outdoor recreation with a minimum of user conflicts. Read more.
President’s Award: John Gray, MFPC treasurer, for dedication in supporting and enhancing the mission of the Maine Forest Products Council. Read more.
Outstanding Forester: District Forester Dan Jacobs for his skills, knowledge, and willingness to help others. Read more.
Outstanding Environmental Managers: Ken Gallant, Pixelle, and Tom Griffin, SAPPI, for dedication to protecting Maine’s environment. Read more.
Above, from left, Pat Sirois, SFI; Amanda Beal, ACF commissioner; Patrick Strauch, MFPC; Diane Rowland and Bill Livingston, UMaine.
“What a fantastic experience,” says new UMaine dean after forest tour
By Jim Britt, Director of Communications, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
On a northern Maine forestry tour Oct. 4, ACF Commissioner Amanda Beal and Maine Forest Service (MFS) Director Patty Cormier recently introduced Diane Rowland, the newly appointed dean of the University of Maine College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture (NSFA) and director of the Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station.
“What a fantastic experience,” Rowland emailed tour organizers on Oct. 5. “I am still amazed with what I saw yesterday and energized with ideas and possibilities . . . I am very grateful to everyone for providing this experience and learning opportunity!” See tour agenda.
The trio was joined by University Forest Manager Keith Kanoti, UMaine School of Forest Resources Interim Director Dr. Bill Livingston, Maine Forest Products Council Executive Director Patrick Strauch, and Maine Sustainable Forestry Initiative Coordinator Pat Sirois and others.
Livingston, Rowland, Cormier, Beal and Pat Sirois of SFI boarded an MFS helicopter in Old Town and for their first stop in at the new Pleasant River Lumber mill in Enfield.
“We landed in the mill yard,” Sirois said. “Bark and dust was flying everywhere. We made quite an entrance.”
Then it was on to Greenville for a tour of an active logging site with industry representatives including Ben Dow, Henning Stabins, Ray Ary, MFS District Forester Jim Ferrante, and Michael and Adam Dulac from Dulac Timber Management.
“I’ve been in Maine for 36 years and never experienced a tour that was so effective in demonstrating what a treasure we have in the Maine forest and how much it means to the state in so many ways,” Livingston said.
BPL staff joined the group at their Lilly Bay State Park lunch stop. The tour was a day well spent discussing how important the university is to forestry in Maine and working together on initiatives.
“I look forward to deepening relationships and facilitating the work NSFA does to serve the industry and state while exploring opportunities to improve our effectiveness and continue to find new ways to stay relevant and address emerging needs,” Rowland said.
National Forest Products Week shines spotlight on the people of the forest products industry
The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) President and CEO Heidi Brock issued the following statement in celebration of the 61st anniversary of National Forest Products Week (October 17-23).
“During National Forest Products Week, we recognize and celebrate our people – the approximately 950,000 individuals who make up the forest products industry and produce essential products, sustainably made.
“Our strength as an industry comes from our people. They bring undeniable value to communities, big and small, and are highly effective champions at sharing the good news of the sustainability of our forests and how to recycle paper and packaging products.
“On Oct. 18, Gov. Mills today welcomed an announcement from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that it is launching a comprehensive Strategic Roadmap to confront PFAS contamination nationwide.
“PFAS contamination is a devastating problem in Maine, hurting peoples’ lives and livelihoods. That’s why we have taken aggressive action to identify and mitigate the impacts of PFAS across the state,” Mills said. “While Maine is leading on PFAS discovery and response, having the resources and support inherent in Federal leadership will be a significant benefit. I applaud the EPA for its commitment to addressing PFAS.”
U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a senior member of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, announced Oct. 19, that she secured $1,600,000 in the draft Fiscal Year 2022 Interior Appropriations bill to support the installation of a PFAS treatment system at the Anson Madison Sanitary District wastewater treatment facility, which will serve the entire state of Maine. The bill, which was released by the full Appropriations Committee, must still be voted upon by the full Senate and House. Read more.
BOARD OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
Nine Dragons and Pixelle testified about the importance of not changing the Androscogin River classification system. The Environment and Natural Resources Committee’s response to LD 676 was to carry over the bill and allow the Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) to deal with the issue in the course of its normal triannual review process. MFPC testified at the legislative hearing against the upgraded classification of the river.
LEGISLATIVE WORKING GROUPS
LD 1710 (public law chapter 380) An Act To Require Prompt and Effective Use of the Renewable Energy Resources of Northern Maine. Sponsor Sen. Troy Jackson. The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) opened docket 2021-223 and began by asking a number of questions about legal and process issues presented by the procurement of a transmission line and renewable generation in northern Maine. Anyone who is interested could respond, and they received more than 20 responses. PUC staff are now sifting through those comments to determine next steps in the procurement process.
Sunday Hunting stakeholders meetings: Executive Director Patrick Strauch has been attending all of these meeting with efforts focused on creating a survey that will be presented to the public and stratified by categories to determine public opinion of Sunday hunting.
LD 1407 An Act To Provide That a Forestry Operation That Conforms to Accepted Practices May Not Be Declared a Nuisance. Several meetings of this stakeholder group have occurred looking at various issues affecting forest operations. The group is focusing on municipal ordinances and the ability to ensure adequate consultation with the Maine Forest Service before voted upon by towns.
Tax Expenditure Review Working Group seeks public comment
NOTICE OF PUBLIC MEETINGS
Julie S. Jones, Senior Analyst, Office of Fiscal and Program Review, 207-287-1635: The Tax Expenditure Review Working Group is reviewing the process for ongoing review of tax expenditures by the Legislature as provided in 3 MRSA §§998-1000. They have heard presentations from OPEGA and administration agencies involved in that process. They would also like to hear from members of the public who either benefit from tax expenditures, or are otherwise interested, about their experience with the current process. They would like interested parties to respond to the following questions at their next meeting.
- What is working well in the current process.
- What are the challenges in the current process
- What ideas should the Working Group consider for change to and improvement of the current process
The next meeting of the Working Group will be Friday, Oct. 22 at 9 a.m. The meeting will be totally remote and conducted via Zoom. Comments may be presented in writing or during the Zoom meeting. If you would like make a presentation to the Working Group at the meeting please let me know by noon on Thursday 10/21 so we can make sure we provide you the proper invitation to join the Zoom meeting. If your comments are in writing, please submit them to us by noon on Thursday so we can post them on the Working Groups webpage.
MAINE SPECIES OF SPECIAL CONCERN – PUBLIC HEARING: Monday, November 1, 2021 @ 4:00pm – Camden National Bank Ice Vault, 203 Whitten Road, Hallowell, ME.
COMMENT DEADLINE: November 11, 2021
Henning Stabins, Weyerhaeuser: Patrick Strauch and Bill Ferdinand have asked the Wildlife Committee to review the proposed rule-making for the IFW Special Concern species process. See attached for the rule background and proposed language. It appears to me that it aligns with the previous communications with IFW and intent of the bill.
One stated advantage of this Species of Concern listing process going from internal IFW policy to formal rulemaking is “Incorporating the species of special concern criteria and list of species into a Department rule will increase transparency of the list and provide a formal opportunity for public involvement in species designation.” This is a good improvement over the current process.
They have laid out the “criteria” for what type of categories of information will be considered. But as we all know, the devil is in the detail. And for rare and not well studied species for which little data exists, professional opinion and interpretation of that scant data is what ends up being used for these types of determinations.
The rule states “Species of special concern are defined by 12 MRSA §10001 and used by the Department for planning and informational purposes, including when providing recommendations and advice on land use activities.”
I would appreciate any feedback. What am I missing? Other thoughts?
ENDANGERED/THREATENED PLANT LIST
PURPOSE: The Maine Natural Areas Program will hold a public meeting to give interested parties the opportunity to comment on the proposed update of the Official List of Endangered and Threatened Plants in Maine. The existing Official List is outdated and does not reflect the latest information available on rare plants in the state. The Maine Natural Areas Program’s enabling legislation stipulates that the Endangered and Threatened Plant List is for informational purposes only and should be updated every two years based on the best available information.
MFPC will be reviewing this issue with the MFPC Wildife Committee.
MEETING INFORMATION: The meeting will be conducted on-line Monday November 22, 2021 from 6-7:00 p.m. To request a link to the meeting please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Plant List Meeting.”
HOW TO PARTICIPATE: All interested persons are invited to attend and make comments for the record which have a bearing on the 2021 Endangered and Threatened Plant Draft List. Written comments are not required though they may be submitted via email or regular mail in lieu of meeting attendance. Please send written comments to the email or physical address as listed below.
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Copies of the proposed update of the Official List of Endangered and Threatened Plants in Maine and documentation on the listing process may be obtained by emailing email@example.com or by sending a request through regular mail to: Maine Natural Areas Program, #177 State House Station, Augusta, Maine, 04333-0177. If you have questions regarding the meeting contact Don Cameron (287-8041) or Molly Docherty (287-8045) at the Maine Natural Areas Program.
Since 1961, the Maine Forest Products Council has been the voice of Maine’s forest economy. MFPC’s members are landowners, loggers, truckers, paper mills, tree farmers, foresters, lumber processors and the owners of more than 8 million acres of commercial forestland, but they are also bankers, lawyers and insurance executives. The Council represents members at the Maine Legislature throughout the state, in Washington D.C. and the U.S.
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