Meetings with candidates provide great insights

Patrick sigWe’ve been fortunate to welcome each of the three gubernatorial candidates for frank discussions with the MFPC Board of Directors and any MFPC member who wished to sit in. Independent Eliot Cutler spoke with the board on May 8 and Gov. Paul LePage and Congressman Mike Michaud met with the board on June 5.

I thought our opportunity to speak with the gubernatorial candidates was important for several reasons. The first is that the council is recognized as an influential political group and an important stop on the campaign trail. The second is that our discussions provided great insight into  the governing styles and priorities of each candidate. Cutler said we needed a plan. Lepage said we don’t want to undo all that we’ve accomplished and there is more to be done. Michaud stressed that he would bring people together and study the issues. I think if the rest of the public can share the insights we’ve gained, some clear choices will emerge.

I’m hoping members will back the Forest Legacy PAC as a way to voice our support for the various leaders in the Legislature. Our local breakfasts this fall and campaign activism also will be important opportunities for individual members. Finding leaders who understand the long-term nature of the forestry business and the need to attract more investment capital is the challenge for our membership and staff.

As we enter the 127th Legislature I’ll be soliciting member comments on bills that could be sponsored by the MFPC that would contribute to a better business climate. Each working committee will go through this exercise and individuals as well can let me know their thoughts on issues of importance.

On the national level, we’ve been watching the proposed EPA rule on the Clean Water Act and the reaction to the Supreme Court’s recent decision on the EPA’s “tailoring rule” for biomass.

“We are now half way to where we need to be,” said Dave Tenny, president & CEO of the National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO). “In order for wood biomass to make its full contribution as a low carbon renewable energy source, the EPA must now adopt an accounting framework that sends a clear and unambiguous signal that biomass is part of the solution.  While we appreciate the Administration’s positive messages on biomass, what we really need is a policy.”

In an July 9 blog, Tenney also wrote that the ruling “provides EPA the best occasion to clarify unambiguously that biomass is part of our nation’s energy and climate solution.”

Describing the EPA’s proposed Clean Water Act rule in the Bangor Daily News  July 3, Jon Olson, executive secretary of the Maine Farm Bureau, wrote that it “threatens to drain the vigor from routine conservation and farming practices.”

I’m trying to get out and about this summer to catch up with as many members at their place of work that I can. It’s a chance to refresh relationships and renew convictions that I represent the good guys and the communities of rural Maine.  I’ll do my best to look you up when I’m in your region.

If you signed up for the golf tournament I’ll see you there. I haven’t decided if I’ll play as the human hazard or just make the rounds and visit. Either way it should be a great event.

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