The PLC strives to ADVOCATE and be a voice in Augusta and Washington DC that speaks for Loggers. COMMUNICATE the message that logging is good for everyone. Harvesting trees provides jobs for millions of Americans and working forests are essential for a healthy environment, providing clean air, clean water, and wildlife habitat. CULTIVATE relationships in the business community to provide members with a competitive edge. INNOVATE by helping our members create opportunities to position them competitively in the marketplace and COLLABORATE to work with other forest industry groups on issues where we agree, but standing strong for loggers when we don’t. The PLC of Maine also works with the American Loggers Council, Maine Forest Resources Association, the Maine Forest Products Council, Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine and the Maine Motor Transport Association.
After months of effort, a PLC-led national drive to secure federal pandemic relief for U.S. logging firms succeeded in late Dec. 2020, with $200 million in aid for timber harvesters and haulers included in an approved bipartisan $900 billion COVID-19 relief package.
The aid will go to timber harvesting and hauling businesses that have, because of the COVID–19 pandemic, experienced a loss of not less than 10 percent in gross revenue during the period beginning on January 1, 2020, and ending on December 1, 2020, as compared to the gross revenue of the eligible entity during the same period in 2019.
This was a historic first for the U.S. logging industry, which had never before received direct federal relief.
Biomass Industry Legislation
The PLC’s biomass bill, LD 1676, “An Act To Establish a Process for Procurement of Renewable Resources”, was passed by both the Maine Senate and House with strong bipartisan support April 15, 2016 following a lengthy campaign in support of it by the PLC in the late winter and early spring of 2016.
The bill was signed into law by Maine Gov. Paul LePage on April 16, 2016.
LD 1676 is designed to preserve the industry by providing stable, short-term revenue for Maine biomass plants to buy time for other steps that can lead to their long-term health, including comprehensive study of biomass opportunities in Maine – a study also successfully promoted by the PLC.
Off-road fuel exempt from sales tax
The PLC partnered with the Maine Farm Bureau in the winter and spring of 2016 to fight for legislation to exempt commercial loggers and farmers from paying sales tax on fuel. After an aggressive campaign the effort drew strong bipartisan support and legislation for the exemption was included in an omnibus spending bill, LD 1606, which passed in the Legislature early on April 16 and was signed into law by Maine Gov. Paul LePage later that day.
The exemption was implemented Jan. 1 2017.
Funding for Mechanized Logging Operator Training Program
Workforce Development— LD 1373, An Act to Create the Put ME to Work Program was a bi-partisan effort by members of the Maine Legislature to assist the logging industry train the next generation of logging operators that are desperately needed throughout the State. This is the funding mechanism that assisted with the implementation of the PLC’s Mechanical Logging Operator training program at three of Maine’s Community Colleges. This bill was designed to provide operational funding for the next two years to get this important program off the ground. Funding ($1,000,000) and language from this bill was included in the State budget, which was passed by both the House and Senate on Wednesday, June 17th. The Governor vetoed the budget, but the Legislature voted to override the veto on June 30th.
Truck Weight Limits increased to 100,000 lbs. north of Augusta, ME
The full Senate Appropriations Committee today approved a provision, authored by Senator Susan Collins, Ranking Member of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, that would permanently allow the heaviest trucks to travel on federal interstates instead of forcing them off the highway and onto Maine’s secondary roads and downtown streets. Click here for the full story.
UPDATE – This weight limit increase has now been made permanent. Read the update here.
Parts and Equipment are Tax Exempt
Parts and Equipment in the State of Maine that are used for Logging are tax exempt. The exemption certificate may be used to purchase depreciable machinery and equipment, including repair parts for such machinery and equipment, used directly and primarily in commercial wood harvesting production, exempt from tax. Click here for an exemption certificate application and click here for an affidavit for sellers.
The PLC worked closely with Maine’s Congressional delegation to oppose the unilateral designation of a national monument by President Obama on donated land in the Katahdin Region of Maine. While the monument was approved in August 2016 despite opposition, the PLC remains deeply concerned about the short and long-term effects the designation will have on the working forests of the region and the industries and loggers that depend on them, and is now working to ensure their interests are represented as development proceeds.