News & Issues
The July 28 Bangor [Maine] Daily News profiles the four-day professional development workshop which the Maine TREE Foundation and Project Learning Tree have co-hosted since 1998, to provide teachers in the state with the insights they need to help students assess career opportunities in forest-related work.
On July 17, FRA joined other sustainable forestry advocates on Capitol Hill for Forest Products Industry Day, staffing a display demonstrating the role of harvesting in forest renewal, with 2014 National Outstanding Logger Anthony Andrews, of Trenton, North Carolina, on hand to interact with Congressional staffers from his field-level perspective and knowledge base.

Dovetail Partners has updated its 2005 report questioning claims implicit in the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED building standard about the supposedly favorable environmental impacts of using bamboo-derived products as substitutes for forest-based building materials such as hardwood flooring.

The Forest Climate Working Group, a coalition of 19 advocacy organizations, submitted six recommendations to the Obama Administration’s Climate Change Initiative, advocating a leading role for privately owned forests.

On March 25, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published a proposed “Waters of the United States” rule, intended—the Agency explains—to clarify questions surrounding the definition of jurisdictional wetlands that arose following Supreme Court decisions in 2001 and 2006.

The main theme of House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp’s (R-Michigan) Tax Reform Act of 2014 is “simplifying and flattening” the federal tax code. Although the concept of “simplifying” the extremely complex current code has a basic appeal to business, many—including forestry interests—question whether “simplification” in all cases equates to “fairness.” The National Alliance of Forest Owners is especially concerned about some provisions proposed for elimination or revision:
The March 7 Wall Street Journal profiles some unexpected consequences of the world’s conversion to living on-line. The burst of demand for packaging materials, as a consequence of e-commerce, is a story that has been told before, but the Journal also notes that fine paper is also experiencing some sort of revival, at least in niche markets, as Americans are “buying more expensive stock for personalized holiday cards, announcements, and photobooks,” empowered by on-line vendors of the relevant technologies, such as Shutterfly, proposing a transformation of fine paper “from commodity to keepsake.”
FRA members will convene May 7-9 at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront Hilton, Virginia Beach, Virginia, for the Association’s 80th Annual Meeting. “One important focus of our meeting will be to explore and evaluate the challenge we face in rebuilding logging and trucking capacity,” stated FRA Chairman Tom Norris, noting that the Meeting program will reinforce the important steps FRA has already taken in “building the connection between operational realities on the ground and decisions coming out of Washington that can help or harm us.”
Following the Department of Transportation’s release of its proposed source materials and methodology for undertaking the Truck Size and Weight Study called for in the most recent Highway Bill, FRA President Deb Hawkinson entered a two-page Comment into DOT’s record.
On January 22, the Department of Agriculture published its “final rule” governing the “Paper and Paper-based Packaging Promotion” program, or “Paper Check-off,” establishing the program and assessing manufacturers or importers of qualifying paper and packaging products 35 cents per short ton, as of March 1, 2014, to fund marketing and promotion programs focusing on educating consumers on paper-based products’ sustainability.
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