The Maine Department of Labor statistics for the most recent year reports the incidence rate for occupational injuries and illnesses for the logging sector is one half that of the national average.
MFPC Newsletter January 2021
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MFPC preliminary watch list has 106 bills,
including many familiar ones
Despite a pandemic and a crisis in national leadership, Maine’s forest industry keeps adapting to changing conditions as it works to remain competitive in a global marketplace. Many Maine residents, especially those in rural communities, are dependent on our members’ success in surviving these challenges. So we want to ensure that every newly elected Maine legislator understands the relationship between supporting businesses in their community and protecting jobs.
Legislative exuberance is rarely limited so as of Wednesday, Rep. Christopher Kessler, D-South Portland, of South Portland, had the highest LR number on the list – LR 1957 An Act To Enact the Zero Tolerance Hazardous Air Emissions Act. 130th Legislature – possible bills of interest
As of Friday, Jan. 15, only about 119 bills had accepted as LDs (Legislative Documents). According to the Legislative Information Office, it will take several weeks before we will know the content of all the bills that will eventually come before legislative committees. Read more.
MFPC challenge: Advocating in ‘virtual’ session
The biggest challenge facing the Maine Forest Products Council right now, along with every organization in the state, is how to advocate for members during the first “virtual” session of 130th Legislature. As with so many things right now, we are uncharted territory.
Here’s what I know now, but keep in mind things are changing rapidly all the time. Due to the pandemic, this legislative session is going to be totally remote. The State House is closed to the public, and pretty much closed to legislators. There will be no legislative sessions or joint sessions of the House and Senate until much later in the spring. Since we can’t talk to them in the halls, legislators are going to be overwhelmed with information from alternative sources, such as calls, emails, texts etc., from various interest groups across the state. Read more.
Maine businesses can apply for 2nd round of PPP loans
Starting this week and closing March 31, 2021, small businesses that have struggled during the coronavirus pandemic can soon receive a first or second forgivable loan under the newly revived Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Under the newly revived PPP program, Congress designated $137 billion for “second-draw” loans as part of a larger funding and relief package. The bill, signed into law on Dec. 27, includes a total of $284.5 billion for PPP loans. The renewed PPP loans are available through small community lenders starting this week
In the first round of funding, 28,270 Maine businesses received (PPP) loans totaling more than $2.2 billion in funding from the Small Business Administration SBA. See Maine recipients.
Businesses applying for a second loan will be required to show substantial revenue decline and meet other requirements. The newly approved PPP loans have tighter restrictions to ensure more small businesses are targeted after critics found billions of dollars went to large corporations nationwide.
Great news from CLP for 2020
For the 16th straight year, contractors in the CLP mechanical category will pay less for workers’ compensation rates. The CLP mechanical rate for new and renewal policies through April 2021 will be 49 percent less than non-certified workers. Maine’s rate for mechanical logging the lowest in the nation, saving the industry millions of dollars over time.
The Maine Department of Labor statistics for the most recent year, reports the incidence rate for occupational injuries and illnesses for the logging sector is one half that of the national average.
The conventional logger workers compensation rate has continued to drop overall since 2008. It is currently 60 percent less than the rate was in 1993. Again, one of the lowest in the country.
CLP continues to partner with Maine’s Sustainable Forest Initiative and Maine Forest Service to promote use of BMPs and sound forest management in Maine. In 2020 SFI has made a generous contribution to fund 100 additional onsite logging evaluations.
In calendar year 2020, 25 new individuals in three classes, and 225 loggers in 12 online recertification have participated in training, and education. In addition, we continue to complete performance-based worksite reviews, which provides the opportunity for one-on-one coaching.
Maine Tree Foundation looks to expand the “value of certification” for loggers and will receive funding to partially pay for the cost of certification and recertification for the next three years. This is great news! Download CLP 2020 Activity Report.
For first time, state park attendance topped 3 million visitor-days in 2020
The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s (DACF) Bureau of Parks and Lands (BPL) has compiled its year-end Maine State Park visitation statistics. As expected, 2020 activity broke all records for recreation visits, which includes day-use and camping. For the first time, total State Park attendance topped three million visitor-days. Despite pandemic-related spring closures and season-long capacity limitations, a total of 3,067,112 people visited Maine State Parks.
In 2020, the BPL welcomed 2,786,750 day-use visitors, up 74,532 (3%) from 2019; and 280,362 camping visitors, up 21,871 (8%) from 2019. 2018 edged out 2019 as the second-highest year for recreation visits, followed by 2016 and 2017. Read more.
LUPC to measure effectiveness of updated adjacency principle
The Commission is committed to tracking the impact of those changes and has developed a work plan to guide data collection over time. The work plan has been revised based on feedback from public comments last fall and will be considered by the Commission at its meeting on January 13, 2021. You can download or view the workplan from the Commission’s website. Also available on the website is the first annual report of development activity from 2019 – 2020 for topics covered by the workplan.
Please contact Ben Godsoe, 207-287-2619, of the LUPC staff if you have questions, need assistance, or want to discuss the workplan.
$4.8M awarded to upgrade UMaine Forest Bioproducts Institute
The University of Maine Forest Bioproducts Research Institute (FBRI) will upgrade its Technology Research Center (TRC) in Old Town and Process Development Center (PDC) in Jenness Hall to bolster ongoing efforts to create new bioproducts, increase production and find uses for woody biomass materials typically considered waste.
The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) awarded FBRI $4.8 million on Jan. 7, 2021, for its research in crafting renewable fuel, heating oil, chemicals, plastics and other goods from woody biomass at a large scale. Institute director Hemant Pendse says his team will invest about $2 million in processing technology infrastructure improvements for the off-campus TRC facility, as well as the on-campus PDC facility, with the balance supporting ongoing research.
“This significant investment will allow us to rapidly advance development in several major areas of ongoing research”, said Institute Director Hemant Pendse. Read more.
Registration opens for Maine Invasive Species Network meeting
The network is seeking Society of American Foresters and Maine Board of Pesticide Control continuing education credits and will update the agenda when we know how many credits are approved.
Note, there will be time on Feb. 24 for announcements for the good of the community. Please contact Gary Fish, the meeting moderator, if you would like to make an announcement during this time: Gary.Fish@maine.gov
Short Span Steel Bridge 2-Part Webinar set for Jan. 15, Jan. 29
Hosted by the New England Regional Council on Forest Engineering (NERCOFE) and presented by the Short Span Steel Bridge Alliance
The Short Span Steel Bridge Alliance (SSSBA) will offer members of the New England Region Council on Forest Engineering (NERCOFE) a “not too technical” two-part webinar that covers safe and cost-effective design, detail, fabrication, and installation of short span steel bridges.There are two scheduled sessions, one on Jan. 15, and the other on the 29.
Short span bridges provide vital links to operate our nation’s forests. But, environmental regulations and complex terrain can make it difficult to install, maintain, and replace structurally deficient bridges. In addition, tight budgets and the need for longer lasting structures presents additional challenges for the professionals that manage private and public forests.
To help address these challenges, the steel industry has developed technological and design innovations for bridges under 140 feet that save significant time and costs for today’s forest engineers and managers. Each of these sessions have been awarded 1 Category 1 CEU from both the State of Maine and SAF. Read more.
Learn to use new Forest Online Resource Tool
To help landowners, loggers, and foresters become familiar with the new online system, the Maine Forest Service will offer a public, online overview and demonstration session. This session will contain:
A 40-45 minute overview of FOResT followed by 15-20 minutes for attendees to ask questions.
10 minute break
1.5 hour in-depth demo of FOResT followed by 30 minutes for attendees to ask questions.
Future sessions will begin at 8 am on the following Wednesdays: Feb. 3, Feb. 17, March 3, March 17, March, 31.
All sessions will be recorded for those who are unable to attend or would like to review what was covered.
The Maine Professional Guides Association (MPGA) announced this week that it has hired James Cote as its executive deputy director. (Photo below right)
From 2008-2010, Cote served as MFPC’s director of government relations and communications and in 2019 was appointed to the Maine Indian Tribal State Commission by Governor Mills. He also serves the Maine Trappers Association as its legislative liaison
Previously, he served on the Landowner-Sportsmen Relations Advisory Board, chaired the Sportsmen Forest Landowner Alliance (SFLA), and represented the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, Grand Lake Stream Guides Association, Maine Sporting Camp Association, Maine Wildlife Conservation Council, and Maine Whitewater Outfitters Coalition. He also worked to defeat Question 1, the bear hunting referendum in 2014. Cote can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maine Woodland Owners will hold “virtual” Forestry Forum
Maine Woodland Owners (MWO) largest event of the year will be held on Zoom during the third day of the virtual Maine Agricultural Trades Show and is open to the public.
The afternoon presentation, “What Small Woodland Owners Should Know About Carbon Markets,” starts at 1 p.m. and will feature Senator Angus King who will provide an overview of the “Trillion Trees and Natural Carbon Storage Act,” followed by a representative from Maine’s Climate Council to discuss the role forests can play in meeting the state’s carbon reduction goals. These will be followed by an overview of the carbon market, current carbon offset projects in Maine, and companies who work in the carbon credits market.
In addition, there will be an online auction, which will run from 5 p.m. Jan. 15 to 4 p.m. Jan. 21, to support the work of Maine Woodland Owners. n addition to hosting the all day program, Maine Woodland Owners also will hold an online auction with one-of-a-kind items including two sculptures created by wood carver Josh Landry. Landry created the sculpture that Stephen and Tabitha King commissioned for their home in Bangor. For more information about the event and how to attend, visit Maine Woodland Owners website, www.mainewoodlandowners.org, or contact Jennifer Hicks, Director of Communications and Outreach, at email@example.com, (207) 626-0005.
Maine TREE announces Jessie Rack as director of education
The Maine Timber Research and Environmental Education Foundation (Maine TREE) has hired Jessie Rack as its new director of education. This position is responsible for sustaining and expanding Maine TREE’s capacity to meet the needs of schools, teachers, parents, students, and other partner organizations for environmental education programs connected to Maine’s forests. In her most recent role, Jessie coordinated the University of Arizona’s Supporting Environmental Education and Communities Program, providing environmental education outreach to Title I K-12 classrooms.
“I am excited to be joining Maine TREE because it gives me the opportunity to help connect Maine teachers and their students with the forest, giving them the tools to engage safely and effectively with nature,” Jessie shared in starting in her new position. “I’ve used the Project Learning Tree curriculum for many years and love how it is both multidisciplinary and inclusive in its approach to teaching and learning.”
While her previous position in Tucson, Arizona found her using school gardens and outdoor spaces as living laboratories to teach students about community science and the scientific method, Jessie is no stranger to New England. She earned her PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Connecticut and been an environmental educator and interpretive naturalist across the region. To learn more about Maine TREE’s forest-based education efforts, visit www.mainetree.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Covid-19 federal and state resources and guidance
MFPC has created a page on our website to list forest products industry resources and guidance documents that we hope will prove useful to members and others. We will be updating it daily. If you see something online that would be helpful to others, please email it to Roberta Scruggs. Most recent posts: