2007 Governor’s Task Force on the Competitivenessof Minnesota’s Primary Forest Products Industry Minnesota Forest Resources Partnership
Background • 2003 - Governor convenes Primary Forest Industry Task Force • Fall 2006 – Ainsworth lays off 410 workers in Bemidji, Grand Rapids, Cook. Hundreds of loggers, truckers and other businesses affected by layoffs. • September 29, 2006 – Governor holds Timber Summit • October 2006 – Governor convenes expanded Task Force • December 2006 – Report of near-term recommendations delivered to Governor.
2007 Background • January 2007 – Governor reconvenes Task Force to develop long-term recommendations. • July 2007 – Task Force recommendations presented to Governor. • September 2007 – Governor meets with Task Force to discuss recommendations.
Reconvened 2007 Task Force Charge Develop long-term recommendations to retain and increase the competitiveness of the primary forest products industry
2007 Task Force Members Public Agencies: Mark Holsten – DNR Commissioner (Co-chair) Sandy Layman - IRR Commissioner (Co-chair) Mike Bull – Assistant Commissioner, Commerce Bob Krepps – St. Louis County Land Commissioner Loggers: Tom McCabe – McCabe Forest Products (TPA) Rich Holm – Holm Logging & Trucking (ACLT) Forest Industry: Kent Jacobson – Ainsworth Pete Aube – Potlatch Joe Maher – UPM Blandin Paper Tom Collins – Saapi Fine Paper Landowner: Craig Halla – Forest Capital Partners University of Minnesota: Dr. Alan Ek – Dept of Forest Resources
Task Force Process 4 meetings from February – May • Refined issues from 2006 report (added energy) • Developed vision and opportunities statements • Developed 16 long-term recommendations • Completed draft report to Governor Report sent to Governor’s office in June Report released in July
Task Force Vision A healthy, fully integrated forest products industry competing successfully in the dynamic global marketplace. • Continues to attract investment • Utilizes an environmentally sustainable supply of timber resources (state and county forests are critical) • Fosters an efficient synergy between the forest and renewable energy sectors
Important Opportunities • Governor’s unique influence on forest policy and public awareness • Renewable energy as an emerging strategic issue
Long-term Recommendations Forest Sector Policy • Create forestry economy sub-cabinet consisting of DNR, IRR, DEED, MPCA, DOA, and Commerce which will: • Provide state agency policy coordination and action • Oversee implementation of Task Force recommendations
Long-term Recommendations Forest Resources Management • Increase statewide annual timber harvest for all ownerships to 5.5 M cords by 2012
Long-term Recommendations Maintenance of Working Forestland Base • Increase state investments in working forest conservation easements, financed in partnership with other funding sources. • Expedite public and private land exchanges in effort to reduce the “checkerboard” forestland ownership pattern and increase management efficiency and access.
Long-term Recommendations Renewable Energy • Direct NextGen Energy Board to: • Make existing forest product industry facilities a priority for state cellulosic biofuels and bioenergy policies, incentives, and research. • Ensure that current raw material supplies of established forest product firms are sustained and the existing use of biomass is enhanced.
Long-term Recommendations Renewable Energy (cont.) • Provide capital incentives for high-value biomass utilization. • Structure incentives to enable partnerships between electric utilities and forest products industry. • Provide state investment in pilot scale projects at existing forest products facilities.
Long-term Recommendations Transportation • Increase weight limits on local, state, and federal roads while protecting road and bridge infrastructure by adding axles and braking capability.
Long-term Recommendations Taxation • Improve effectiveness of Sustainable Forestry Incentives Act (SFIA) and make MN forestland property tax policy more effective. • Encourage forestland retention by adjusting current property tax classifications/rates to make them comparable to agricultural lands.
Iron Range Resources Initiatives • Convened the “Seizing Opportunities: Forestry and the BioEconomy” conference in late September. • Hosting a Renewable Energy Roundtable discussion to discern opportunities and the best course of action for NE MN. • Will aggressively pursue renewable energy pilot project if deemed appropriate.