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May-June-2015

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10 PalletCentral • May-June 2015 palletcentral.com INSIDE NWPCA Capitol Hill Corner NWPCA on the Move on Capitol Hill W hile Congress is in session it's a busy time for NWPCA as we educate Members of Congress and their staff on issues important to the industry such as: transportation and trucking, federal and private forest management, and regulatory reform. This month, visits on the Hill included meeting with Chris Hayes, Deputy Chief of Staff to United States Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina; James Richardson, Chief of Staff to Congressman Mike Portman; Blake Hollander, Senior Policy Advisor to Congressman Mike Portman; John McDonald, Legislative Assistant to Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina; Matt McCullough, Chief of Staff to Congressman Mike Bost; and U.S. Congressman Bike Bost 12th District of Illinois (pictured). Heard on the Hill and Federal Agencies USDA-APHIS: On April 27, 2015 NWPCA submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA- APHIS) on its draft programmatic environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) Eradication Program (APHIS-2013-0003- 0039). To date, there have been ALB outbreaks in five states including Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Ohio. The draft ALB EIS considers potential environmental impacts from each of the five alternatives proposed for the APHIS ALB Eradication Program, should ALB be discovered elsewhere in the continental United States. Of the five proposed methods of action, NWPCA commented, "We support USDA-APHIS' practical risk-based approach to enforcement that recognizes the need for appropriate flexibility," and rejected a "No Action" proposal. NWPCA continues to work closely with USDA-APHIS and has participated in several meetings and conference calls with USDA federal employees at the national and state level. Northern Long-Eared Bat: On May 4th the northern long- eared bat (NLEB) was listed as a 'threatened' species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Also effective is an interim 4(d) rule that provides flexibility to landowners, land managers, government agencies and others as they conduct activities in northern long-eared bat habitat. Given the significant number of comments already received, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) opened a 90-day comment period to accept further input on the interim rule through July 1, 2015. Section 4(d) special rules under the ESA allows the USFWS to establish special regulations for threatened (not endangered) species, subspecies, and "Distinct Population Segments" that may increase or decrease the ESA's normal protections. While a 'threatened' listing is an improvement from 'endangered', the forest industry will still be adversely affected by an issue that is not a man-made one. Alternative Fuel Tax Credit (AFTC): Representative Todd Young (R-IN) introduced H.R. 1665, the Alternative Fuel Tax Parity Act, to amend the Internal Revenue Code to equalize the excise tax on liquefied natural gas (LNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (propane). Currently, liquefied natural gas (LNG) is taxed at a rate 70 percent higher than diesel fuel on an energy content basis, working against adoption of natural gas vehicles in the heavy truck market. Resetting the tax rate so that it is based on energy content rather than volume would remove an artificial barrier from the market. The AFTC incentive originally expired on December 31, 2013, but was retroactively extended through December 31, 2014 by Public Law 113-295. The tax credit is applicable to fuel sold or used between January 1, 2005 and December 31, 2014. Young's legislation hinges on passage in the House and Senate and reauthorization of the AFTC. These are just a few issues and topics that NWPCA is following. Stay current on NWPCA Advocacy at www.palletcentral.com/?page=Advocacy_Packaging. Follow Patrick on Twitter @NWPCA_Policy. PC Meeting with U.S. Representative Mike Bost this afternoon, Illinois 12th Congressional District. Former fire fighter, and family owned a trucking business which his brother now operates.

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