207-688-8195 Professional Logging Contractors of Maine

As We See It: The Rollercoaster

By Danny Dructor, ALC Executive Vice-President Many years ago, I remember a trip I made with my family to an amusement park where we enjoyed spending the day seeing the sights and riding the rides.  One of the biggest excitements came when I found out that I was tall enough to ride the rollercoaster, but what I did not realize then was that the rollercoaster “effect” would follow me throughout my adult life. We have all experienced the rollercoaster effect; the ups and downs of the economy, the highs and lows of growing older, and the good times and bad times of the timber harvesting industry…sometimes up, sometimes down. We are still on that rollercoaster.  While markets have shown some improvement over the past few months for the products and services that we provide, there is still the potential threat of more regulation that could stymie our growth. For the past 18 months, the American Loggers Council has worked with other associations in an attempt to secure legislation that would permanently exempt using forest roads from the NPDES permitting system.  Many of our sponsors have jumped into the fray with us, including Caterpillar Forest Products and John Deere.  We have been in the trenches in Washington, DC, working together to try and put a common sense bill into place that would remove one more “worry” from our still recovering industry. On June 18th, we got an unexpected surprise.  Members of the U.S. House of Representatives decided to attach the Silviculture Regulatory Exemption Act as an amendment to the House Version of the Farm Bill.  Immediately, a call to action...

As We See It: Getting Active

By Danny Dructor, Executive Vice-President By the time that this editorial goes to press in February, a delegation of the American Loggers Council will have already made its way to Washington, DC to measure the mood of the members of the new Congress, or in better words, their willingness to try and accomplish things that will help to return this great nation to sound fiscal policy and to become a nation that leads in job creation and prosperity. There is a lot of unfinished business, including the U.S. Supreme Court decision on the NPDES permitting requirement for logging roads, and designing a road map that will lead us to energy independence, including the use of woody biomass as a renewable energy resource. There is still a lot of work needed to improve the offerings from the federal timber sale program that would benefit the logging industry and timber dependent communities.  There is not much reason to offer a biomass component in a timber sale if those markets do not exist, and even less need to tally firewood removals as a part of a viable timber sale program. Regulatory uncertainty is still a major concern for our industry, and the administration has yet to release any indicators as to how many new regulations might be promulgated during the upcoming year, but you can be assured that we will be working closely with other organizations, federal agencies, legislators and their committees to ensure that the voice of the professional timber harvesters are once again heard and that our unique perspective on our industry is understood by all. If you have yet...

Maine Issues Letter to Feds opting out of Health Insurance Exchanges

Maine Issues Letter to Federal Health Officials Opting Out of Health Insurance Exchanges AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage today reiterated his recommendation that the State of Maine will not develop a state-based health insurance exchange as part of the implementation of the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA also referred to as ACA). Because the guidance issued in the August 13, 2012, request of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is not legally binding, the State of Maine will not be submitting a Declaration Letter. Instead, Gov. LePage, in a letter to U.S. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, noted that the State of Maine has repeatedly stated that the law has severe legal problems, is bad policy, and overreaches into the lives and pocketbooks of fellow Americans. “Maine will not build a state health insurance exchange as outlined by the ACA. We are not going to assist in implementation of this bill in its current form,” wrote Governor LePage. “The ACA is full of federal mandates; as such, even a state based health insurance exchange is actually controlled by the federal government. In the end, a state exchange puts the burden onto the states and the expense onto our taxpayers, without giving the state the authority and flexibility we must have to best meet the needs of the people of Maine.” Governor LePage added that without knowing more details on the cost and nature of state-based exchanges, it is possible that our state could be placed in the untenable position of serving as the administrator of a new federal healthcare bureaucracy over which Maine has little...

Obamacare’s Insurance Rule Is Upheld by Supreme Court

The Supreme Court, in a landmark ruling Thursday, upheld the individual insurance requirement at the heart of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. The court on Thursday handed Obama a campaign-season victory in rejecting arguments that Congress went too far in requiring most Americans to have health insurance or pay a penalty. Chief Justice John Roberts announced the court’s judgment that allows the law to go forward with its aim of covering more than 30 million uninsured Americans. Source: http://finance.yahoo.com Update:  Link to the Court’s Ruling...

Loggers in Washington (DC)

By Miles Anderson There is a feeling of comfort for people working in a natural resource industry that is derived from being outdoors and distant from the urban chaos that rules many of our lives today.  In spite of some of us being out of our comfort zone, the American Loggers Council (ALC) Board of Directors once again made its annual trip to Washington DC.  Although feeling slightly out of place on initial trips to the Hill, it soon became apparent that Congressional members and staff rarely get the unique opportunity to hear our concerns and passions expressed personally on our way of life and our livelihoods. A trip to Washington, D.C. is as amazing and fulfilling as it is frustrating.  Building relationships with Representatives or their staff (which seems more productive at times) gets you involved with the process that impacts your daily life and ability to provide a livelihood for your family and employees.  Some we met with gave the appearance of being interested; while others are truly concerned with the direction we are headed.  Some even shared information that left you asking why, how, or can they be serious? One staff member we met with spoke about Congress being very inactive, yet we have seen a lot of activity coming out of this administration, basically leaving discussion and openness out of due process. One thing was very clear at our meetings this year at the Capitol — everything there is at a standstill.  Both sides of the aisle have agreed to disagree on pretty much everything, which is to be expected when control is split in...