A lawsuit in progress and a legislative session coming soon

This month’s newsletter celebrates another successful annual meeting, one that allowed the membership — although masked — to see one another in person. I’m grateful the Gov. Janet Mills could spend some informal time with us at the barbecue and spoke to us during the annual meeting. 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. The Executive Committee wanted the decision to pursue the legal action to involve the Board of Directors and in 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.   

You will see there is considerable activity on the regulatory front with agencies in rule-making and stakeholder mode. We will continue to participate in these activities and keep you informed. The list of new titles (bills sorted by subject) was moderate with only 333 new bills requested, which will be considered for inclusion this session by the Legislative Council Oct. 25. I’ve seen many more second session bills in the past. There a quite a few carry-over bills that will be challenging as well. The policy committee will be in full operation as the legislature returns for a “short” session. According to the Legislative Information Office, 216 bills were carried over from the 130th Legislatures first session.

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.

Fall season is a great time to reach out to your legislators and let them know who you are and what you do in the forestry business. These relationships are critical during the active session when they are voting on topics of concern to our cause. We will be glad to assist in creating local events and getting policymakers into the woods and mills.  Find your legislators by entering your address.

Forest and wood products are in the limelight with climate change concerns and the interest in focusing on a green forest bioeconomy. Forest manufacturers are beginning to run the numbers on their carbon footprints and seeking ways to state a competitive rating. As an industry it will be important to talk about the interconnectedness of our industry from an operational and a carbon cycle perspective – perhaps more mills will look at owning timberlands so that they can control their carbon destiny!  

As always please contact me if you have any thoughts or concerns – it is always a pleasure to work for such a strong, membership-driven organization.