August 2, 2011 – Hemphill, TX. – Members of the American Loggers Council (ALC) held their summer Board of Directors meeting on July 30, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio, for the purpose of providing value and advocacy for the professional timber harvesters that the Council represents.
With a faltering housing market and high unemployment numbers, the timber harvesting industry across the United States has been hit especially hard. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 47,300 Americans work in the logging industry today, down from 73,300 just ten years ago.
With these numbers in mind, the ALC Board has agreed to embark on a new path to bring recognition to the professional men and women in the industry, while remaining the largest national advocacy group for loggers in Washington, DC.
Board members unanimously agree that the goal of the American Loggers Council is to provide a unified, national voice for professional loggers across the United States, and board members laid out new targets and objectives towards obtaining that goal.
Some of the highlights included: modernizing the current logo to reflect the people and the values that the organization represents; thus the word “Logger” is now the focus, redeveloping the ALC website to be current and user friendly and reflective of ALC platforms on federal issues impacting the industry, taking more opportunities to visit leaders in Washington, DC, and encouraging loggers from all across the country to become involved and engaged with the American Loggers Council and the issues that are impacting their businesses.
The Board also approved changes to the ALC communications program where by the organization will more effectively communicate position statements on industry issues to both loggers and the general public. The more personal “As I See It” Presidents messages will continue, but will be augmented with more frequent, “As We See It”, news releases that will provide definite information, of a National scope, on current activities the ALC is pursuing in Washington DC. This shift is designed to educate more loggers on ALC activities and keep our national focus in the forefront.
During the meeting, current legislative issues were discussed, with the priority being on the need to pass the bipartisan Silviculture Regulatory Consistency Act (S 1369) working its way through the U.S. House (H.R. 2451) and Senate (S.1369). If passed, this bill would codify the 35 year practice of allowing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to exempt timber harvesting activities from National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit requirements. Recent activity in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has put those exemptions in jeopardy.
The Board unanimously approved Master Logger Certification© programs for both Florida and Georgia. Southeastern Wood Producers Director Tommy Carroll was on-hand to accept the honor.
During afternoon discussions, mechanisms to sustainably fund the organization were discussed, and those options will be reviewed again during the next scheduled meeting in late September. ALC President Matt Jensen stated that he was “extremely pleased with the input and outcome from all of the Board members,’” and that he “looked forward to the upcoming meeting in September and encouraged everyone’s participation.”
John Dorka, Executive Director for the Ohio Forestry Association was present at the meeting to listen and learn more about the activities and programs of the ALC, while considering options that the Ohio loggers might have to become involved with the American Loggers Council.
Other guests at the meeting included Mike Duncan, Joe Allen, Nick Leitze and Jason Koskinen with Caterpillar Forest Products, who not only sponsored the meeting, but presented informative sessions on the global perspective and opportunities for the industry, as well as updates on Tier 4 engines and requirements for timber harvesting equipment.
Following the business meeting, Caterpillar Forest Products hosted the entire group at the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati where the Cincinnati Reds blew out the San Francisco Giants. ALC Executive Vice President Danny Dructor commented that “yesterday’s meeting was very much like that ball game. We had nine innings in which to try and win the game to bring the focus of this organization to the forefront of the loggers needs. I am very excited about the changes that the leadership of this organization has recommended. We hit a home run in every inning and we will win this game.”
For more information about the American Loggers Council, or their upcoming annual meeting, you can contact their office at 409-625-0206 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.