207-688-8195 Professional Logging Contractors of Maine

-As We See It- October 2015- Trucking

       Agricultural products come in many shapes and sizes, in-spite of this variability they have important things in common such as providing livelihoods to many families living in the rural parts of our Country.  Whether the crop is soy beans or logs, they have little value without a dependable method to get the product to market.  While the production of agricultural products is mostly found in rural areas, the majority of markets are found in the more urban areas. Most agricultural producers rely on truck transportation and there is little to compare to the frustration when a product, especially one with a shelf life, is ready for market and trucks are not available to haul it.   Many industries have been concerned for some time about the loss of trucking infrastructure and the impact it has on their business model. I would like to add my perception to this discussion.  Whether we talk about an owner operator or a company running a fleet of trucks, I believe the underlying issue impacting infrastructure and availability is one and the same. There are numerous serious issues impacting trucking operations, such as return on investment, dependability of new trucks, state and federal regulations, price volatility, and for fleets – availability of qualified drivers. In most cases the trucks hauling agricultural products are the image that the general public has of our industry regardless if we are hauling logs or corn. While these trucks say a lot about our industry they also represent the greatest potential liability for any company.    It is relatively easy to get into the trucking business...

– As We See It The Endangered Species Act – Second Take

Growing up in a small rural town in Northern California I have seen first-hand how well intended regulation can destroy jobs once manipulated by the regulatory agencies and the environmental industry. Recently we saw how dwindling populations of the Northern long eared bat pushed Federal Fish and Wildlife to take immediate action. Many of us were to be impacted by this action, which raised the question of the quality of science, the proposed restrictions and the real reason for the decline. This action sent tremors across the wood products industry of our Nation. Industry professionals from across our country began to see first hand what those of us in the Pacific North West have been dealing with for over 25 years. The Endangered Species Act of 1973 was signed into law by President Richard Nixon on December 28, 1973, it was designed to protect critically imperiled species from extinction as a “consequence of economic growth and development un-tempered by adequate concern and conservation.” The U.S. Supreme Court found that “the plain intent of Congress in enacting” the ESA “was to halt and reverse the trend toward species extinction, whatever the cost.”[i] The summer of 1990 on the North Coast of California was a time that would change the course of our regional timber industry forever due to a pair of events. The first was Redwood Summer, where a few hundred college students decided to spend their summer vacation in sunny California protesting the nations most stringent forest regulatory system and sampling some of the regions local produce. The second event was the listing of the Northern Spotted Owl as...

As We See It: It Just Makes Sense

September 2014 By Danny Dructor, ALC Executive Vice-President For seventeen years, members of the American Loggers Council have been making trips to Washington, DC, promoting the idea that trucks hauling state legal weight limits for agricultural commodities, including unrefined forest products, should be allowed to access the Federal Interstate Highway System, and for seventeen years, this common-sense approach to standardizing weight limits within state boundaries has gone unnoticed, until now! On July 24, 2014, Congressman Steve Southerland from Florida introduced the Right To Haul Act of 2014, H.R. 5201, that if passed would do just that, allow these loads access to the Interstate Highway System as long as they do not exceed individual State weight limitations. The language is simple, “…individual State weight limitations for an agricultural commodity that are applicable to State highways shall be applicable to the Interstate System within the State’s borders for vehicles carrying an agricultural commodity.” An agricultural commodity in the Bill is defined as, “…any agricultural commodity (including horticulture, aquaculture, and floriculture), food feed fiber, forestry products, livestock (including elk, reindeer, bison, horses, or deer), or insects and any product thereof.” What does this mean for the logging industry? Several things. First, you will now be able to transport your state legal roads on a safer and more efficient route to the mill or processing facility, avoiding the intersections in town and communities where vehicle and pedestrian accidents are more likely to occur. Second, your loads will be hauled on infrastructure that is oftentimes much better than the secondary roads found in the state and county, and third, when you travel through a...

As We See It: Social Hypocrisy

August 2014 By Brian Nelson, ALC President Do you know where the products you use and the food that you eat come from? Chances are good that if you live in rural America then you probably do. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Americans who live outside of rural America have no clue where the products they use come from, nor do they want to know, either out of ignorance or out of a sense of ideology that somehow they are protecting our planet. Recently I saw a flyer in our local paper for a national pharmacy chain where they were advertising “tree free” products that they were now carrying. After seeing this flyer I couldn’t help but wonder how many other companies were catering to this “green movement” because it is the “in” thing to do. For many, the belief is that timber harvests lead to the destruction of the environment and our planet even though science has proven that sustainably managed timber harvests do the exact opposite because a well-managed forest is a healthy forest. Many times the science is irrelevant to these people as it is more of a cause to believe in than what is proven right or wrong. We’ve all seen or heard of numerous examples – from animal rights activists who eat meat or wear leather to the tree huggers who use countless products that are derived from wood. The example that I find the most ironic are the movie stars or recording artists who use fame as an opportunity to get on their soap box to spout rhetoric on how they’re so concerned...

As We See It: Youth Careers in Logging

July 2014 By Brian Nelson, ALC President Are you concerned about the future of the timber industry? If not, you are most likely in the minority. Mill closures, mergers, high cost of raw materials, shortage of qualified operators, the constant barrage of government regulations, and the overall high cost of running a business today are just a few of the many hurdles that we all must navigate in order to stay afloat. While the American Loggers Council (ALC) can’t solve all these issues, they are currently working on many of them and will continue to do so into the future. When my term as ALC President started last fall, I listed a set of goals that I wanted to accomplish. The issue at the top of that list was to address the entrance of the next generation of timber harvesters into our industry. In order for this industry to survive, we must have a qualified and competent work force to not only operate equipment but to also take over the reins of running the business when the current owner decides to step away. This issue is one that the ALC has been working on for a number of years now and just started to gain some momentum with the introduction of H.R.4590 and S.2335. The Future Logging Careers Act – H.R.4590 was introduced by Rep. Labrador (R-ID ) while the Youth Careers In Logging Act -S.2335 was introduced by Sen. Risch (R-ID) and Sen.Crapo (R-ID ). Both of these bills would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 so that 16 and 17 year olds would be allowed...

ReEnergy to Resume Operations at Ashland, Maine

ReEnergy to Resume Operations at Biomass-to-Energy Facility in Ashland, ME Ashland, ME – August 4, 2014 – ReEnergy Holdings today announced plans to resume operations at its biomass-to-electricity facility in Ashland, ME. “We are very pleased to be resuming operations of this critical energy asset,” said ReEnergy Chief Executive Officer Larry D. Richardson. “This will restore jobs, improve forest health, and enhance reliability and stability in the delivery of electricity in northern Maine. This was only possible through the collaboration and support of key stakeholders.” The 39-megawatt ReEnergy Ashland facility generates renewable energy from responsibly harvested green forest residue biomass and unadulterated wood. It is capable of producing approximately 284,000 MWh of electricity each year — enough to supply nearly 37,000 homes. The facility, which opened in 1993, was acquired by ReEnergy Holdings in December 2011 as part of a multi-facility portfolio purchase from Boralex Industries Inc. It has been idled since March 2011. It is anticipated that the facility will be fully operational by December. “This is terrific news for Aroostook County,” said Governor Paul R. LePage.  “I thank ReEnergy for their investment and congratulate them on the decision to restart operations.  My team has worked proactively with ReEnergy over the last few years in an effort to get where we are today.  This is what happens when government partners with the private sector in efforts to improve our economy for the benefit of all Mainers.  ReEnergy’s decision is further proof Maine’s economy is headed in the right direction.” Senator Susan Collins said: “The reopening of the Ashland biomass facility is welcome news for the important jobs it will...