What a session! Democrats enjoy first ‘trifecta’ since 2010
In the 129th session, Democrats had what’s known as a state government trifecta, meaning they held the governor’s office and had majorities in both the House and Senate. According to Ballotpedia, Maine Democrats held trifecta control of state government from 2003 to 2010, but in all other years from 1992 to 2017, control of state government was divided.
“This session certainly reflected a changing of the guard,” said Executive Director Patrick Strauch. “I started in this position in 2004 when the Baldacci administration was in place so it feels like I’ve experienced the full cycle of Maine governance.”
So there was a lot of pent-up demand and bills were coming out fast and furiously right until the session ended June 20. The last, LD 1846, was dated June 18, passed June 19 and was signed by Gov. Janet Mills on June 28. According to a press release, as of July 3, the governor had signed 606 bills, allowed 45 to become law without her signature, and vetoed eight bills, all of which were sustained. Comprehensive veto list.
The governor also held 39 bills for further review, including LD 268 (which ties a forest excise tax credit to U.S. residency – MFPC opposed) and LD 1698 (promoting production of Natural Resources Bioproducts – MFPC supported), meaning that the bills have not been signed, vetoed or become law without her signature.
The forest products industry certainly saw its fair share of bills — there were 432 on MFPC’s tracking list. However, Strauch has boiled down the list and commented on the top bills.
Although the Legislature has adjourned, it’s anticipated to come back in session, perhaps in August, to finish other business, such as the bond package.
Celebrate Maine Forest Products Week Oct. 20-26
“Maine’s Working Forest: Take Another Look” will be the Council’s focus as we celebrate Maine Forest Products Week October 20-26 in conjunction with National Forest Products Week. This is a terrific opportunity to let our neighbors across Maine know the industry is rebounding and that forest industry impacts felt in every county across our state.
Building upon the work of FOR/Maine and its associated publicity, plus all the investments in research and facilities in recent years, we will focus on the bright future of Maine forest products, from traditional manufacturing to hi-tech wood fabrics, and the related benefits for people, including sustaining our environment, supporting our economy, providing wildlife habitat, and affording opportunities for outdoor recreation. The four themes for Forest Products Week messaging are: Economic Impact and Jobs; Forest Recreation and Public Access; New Products and Uses for Wood, and Stewardship, Sustainability and Climate Change. Read more.
Maine exported $551 million in forest products in 2018
International trade is a major component of Maine’s forest products industry. The Maine International Trade Center (MITC) estimates that Maine exported approximately $551 million worth of forest products in 2018 to countries like Canada, China, and Italy. This represents about 20 percent of Maine’s total exports.
- Canada is consistently Maine’s most important trade partner for forest products. In 2018, Maine exported $346 million worth of forest products to Canada, and $1.8 billion over the last five years.
- China: The trade tensions between the U.S. and China have negatively impacted Maine’s exports of forest products to China. From 2017 to 2018, Maine exports of wood pulp decreased by 20 percents and exports of wood articles dropped by 45 percent, this represents a decrease of approximately $28 million.
- South Korea: Exports of wood pulp products to South Korea increased by over $14 million from 2017 and 2018, this represents a 50-fold increase. As trade tensions with China continue, Maine’s forest products industry must continue to seek alternative foreign markets to replace Chinese demand; South Korea is a growing alternative market for Maine’s forest products. Read more.
Forming a 10-year economic plan for Maine
Nearly 200 business, economic and nonprofit leaders, including MFPC Executive Director Patrick Strauch; Donna Cassese, SAPPI, and Steve Schley, who chairs the FOR/Maine Executive Committee, gathered at the Augusta Civic Center June 21 for a brainstorming summit on how to strengthen the state’s economy — the public kickoff of an effort aimed at forming a 10-year economic plan for Maine. Then the state Department of Economic Development (DECD) kicked off a week of regional planning sessions. Bill Sylvester, a long-time MFPC member who was a forester for International Paper, attended the DECD planning session in Auburn June 26 and sent MFPC his impression the same day.
About 60 people attended, according to the Sun Journal story, but, Sylvester said, “Likely there wasn’t anyone else there with a forestry background.” Participants broke out into nine work groups “looking for barriers /solutions,” Sylvester said. “Some practical things came out.” Concerns were expressed about the state’s aging work force and low population growth, as well as rising health care costs.
“It was said there will be a recession within the next 10 years and Maine is not very ‘recession resistant,’” Sylvester said. “Guess that was the most alarming thing I came away with.”
Enjoy this great day of fun, friends and golf
Please join your friends and colleagues for the Maine Forest Products Council Golf Tournament at the Bangor Municipal Golf Course in Bangor this Thursday, July 11. Sue McCarthy of MFPC and Brian Flewelling of Key Bank want to thank the membership for their continued support with sponsorships. If you have not sponsored yet and would like to please contact us at 622-9288. We have 32 teams signed up for this tournament and all we need now is good weather. Looking forward to a great day of golf!
You’re invited to Sugarloaf Resort Sept. 15-16!
The Maine Forest Products Council invites all members to attend our 59th Annual Meeting Sept. 15-16 at Sugarloaf Resort in Carrabassett Valley. This year, attendees will have the opportunity to play golf at the Sugarloaf Golf Course on Sunday and then enjoy a BBQ at Strokes Bar and Grille right at the clubhouse.
On Monday, we get down to business with, electing officers, hearing a legislative report and then devoting the rest of the morning to work force issues. which are becoming more critical as our industry rebounds. We’ll start off with an overview of the issues facing us by Ryan Wallace, director of the Maine Center for Business and Economic Research, Muskie School of Public Service, and then have a panel discussion so we can hear what’s going on in our forests and mills. During the afternoon, we’ll focus on what’s ahead for lumber/wood products and pulp/paper.
Our speaker on wood products already is confirmed. William Perritt is executive editor of Fast markets RISI’s North American Wood fiber & Biomass Markets, news editor for International Wood Fiber Report, and editor of Log Lines. He also produces Fast markets RISI’s North American and European Wood Biomass Project databases. Perritt has covered pulpwood market news for decades and is in regular contact with industry sources, including in Maine.
“Getting a RISI person to speak is outstanding because they are very knowledgeable, able to accurately convey trends and most importantly, they are neutral arbiters, said Ron Lovaglio. “They tell it like it is.”
Hagan steps down as president of Manomet: John Hagan, who worked at Manomet for 22 years, first as a senior scientist and then as president for the past 11 years, announced his retirement June 20, saying “At this stage of my career and given my long history in programs before becoming President, I want to focus entirely on a few specific topics that interest and concern me.” Read more.
Maine TREE hires new PLT coordinator: The Maine TREE Foundation has hired Christine Anderson-Morehouse of Northport as the new Project Learning Tree® (PLT) coordinator. Pat Maloney long-time PLT coordinator is retiring in August. PLT uses trees and forests as windows on the world to increase students’ understanding of the environment and actions they can take to conserve it. For decades, Anderson-Morehouse has guided school leadership teams and teachers in educational approaches, often incorporating suitable outdoor education and first-hand learning experiences. Read more.
Teacher tours are full: This will be the 22nd year that Maine TREE Foundation has offered summer Teachers’ Tours of Maine’s Forests and Mills. The tours continue to be very well received by educators from all over the state. The 2019 tours, scheduled for July 9-12 in Ashland and July 23-26 in Rangeley Lakes, have been booked for weeks and there’s a waiting list of interested teachers. Teachers on this year’s tours will visit logging operations, sawmills, small landowners and have the opportunity to discuss field operations and multiple use management considerations with foresters, wildlife biologists and other natural resource professionals.
Maine TREE Foundation is celebrating its 30th anniversary, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, with Project Learning Tree demonstrations at Old Town Elementary School Outdoor Classroom area, 3-5 p.m., and at the University of Maine Forest Pole Barn, 5-8 p.m. Enjoy fun, food and music! For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-621-9872.
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 and across the state, in Washington D.C. and across the U.S.
Patrick Strauch, Executive Director;
Pat Sirois, SFI Coordinator
Sue McCarthy, Office Manager