Posts Tagged ‘Business Impact’

NewPage ‘indefinitely’ idles Rumford paper machine

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

By Whit Richardson, BDN Staff

RUMFORD, Maine — NewPage on Tuesday said it would “indefinitely” stop operation of one of the paper machines at its Rumford paper mill by mid-February because of tough economic conditions.

Employees at the Rumford mill — there are about 830 — received the news Tuesday morning, according to Anthony Lyons, a mill spokesman….

Click to read more from the: Bangor Daily News

MTA NOTICE TO CONTRACTORS ROADSIDE CLEARING

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

MTA NOTICE TO CONTRACTORS ROADSIDE CLEARING

Click Link Below for Long Notice or the logo at left to visit the MTA’s

Construction Contracts Page

MTA: 2013.13 Roadside Clearing Notice to Contractors

Nathaniel F. Carll

Purchasing Manager

Maine Turnpike Authority

2360 Congress Street

Portland, ME 04102

ncarll@maineturnpike.com

Phone: (207)482-8115

Fax:   (207)871-7739

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Maine ACF’s Amendment to Forest Operations Notifications

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Amendment to Forest Operations Notifications

CLICK HERE for Link to new form

or

highlight and right click the link below.

http://www.maine.gov/doc/mfs/mfs/forms/2013_FONSAmendmentForm_fillable.pdf

As We See It: The Rollercoaster

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

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 was sent out requesting that everyone call their representatives and ask that they support the amendment in the Farm Bill.  Because of the great work put in by all, the amendment passed on the floor of the House on a voice vote on June 19th, with no one debating in opposition of the amendment.

But then came June 20th, when members of the House voted on final passage of the Farm Bill.  The Bill went down in smoke by a vote of 194 for and 234 against.

Unfortunately, larger considerations of the Farm Bill such as the Food Stamp (SNAP) program carried a lot more weight than our forest roads amendment, but the fact remains that the vast majority of the members of the House voted favorably on the language that was included in the amendment, understanding that the language in the amendment made sense.

Once again we have experienced the rollercoaster effect that comes with life, and once again, we find ourselves at the bottom of the hill slowing climbing our way back up.  I’m not so certain that the idea of riding roller coasters anymore is appealing, but you can rest assured that the American Loggers Council will do its part in securing legislation that is favorable towards the timber harvesting industry, even if the ride is not always as smooth as we would like.

The American Loggers Council is a non-profit 501(c)(6) corporation representing professional timber harvesters in 30 states across the US.  For more information, visit their web site at www.americanloggers.org or contact their office at 409-625-0206.

Display of USDOT Numbers Now Required for All Motor Carriers in Maine

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Enforcement to begin January 1st

All Motor Carriers in Maine are now required to obtain and display a USDOT number.  Beginning January 1, 2013, the Maine State Police will begin enforcing the requirement for all motor carriers.

By way of background, prior to 2007 only interstate carriers and intrastate carriers of hazardous materials were required to display a USDOT number.  Those carriers with a gross vehicle weight rating of over 10,000 but under 26,001, who did not haul hazardous materials, were not required to have a USDOT number at all. Intrastate motor carriers over 26,000 have always been required to have a USDOT number but were not required to display it.

For the last year, Maine BMV through their municipal agents has required all motor carriers registering commercial vehicles over 10,000 to obtain a USDOT number.  Maine BMV will issue USDOT numbers to motor carriers over 26,000 pounds and will direct motor carriers between 10,001 and 26,000 to the on-line registration system of FMCSA.

The change in policy occurred because the Maine State Police now adopt Part 390 without amendment, thus the marking requirements in Part 390.21 apply to all motor carriers who operate commercial vehicles.  The definition of commercial vehicle is found in Part 390.5:

Commercial motor vehicle means any self-propelled or towed motor vehicle used on a highway in interstate commerce to transport passengers or property when the vehicle—

(1) Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating, or gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight, of 4,536 kg (10,001 pounds) or more, whichever is greater; or

(2) Is designed or used to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation; or

(3) Is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, and is not used to transport passengers for compensation; or

(4) Is used in transporting material found by the Secretary of Transportation to be hazardous under 49 U.S.C. 5103 and transported in a quantity requiring placarding under regulations prescribed by the Secretary under 49 CFR, subtitle B, chapter I, subchapter C.

All Motor Carrier’s must now conform to Part 390.21 which means having the legal trade name of their company and their USDOT number on each side of their vehicle.  The name and number must be in contrasting colors to their truck and visible from 50 feet during daylight hours.  The most common size for compliant lettering is 2 inches.

If you have questions or need assistance in obtaining a USDOT number, please feel free to contact the staff at MMTA who can assist with this and all of your compliance requirements.

Editor’s Note: This requirement will also apply to logger’s service trucks!

Maine Issues Letter to Feds opting out of Health Insurance Exchanges

Friday, November 16th, 2012

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 control.

“Furthermore, many of the ACA regulations remain incomplete two and a half years after the bill passed. The legal status of portions of the bill remains unresolved, and there are too many unanswered questions. Complex technicalities make interpretation challenging, and unknown financial obligations—at a time when we face a fiscal crisis that we have yet to resolve—become extremely burdensome to businesses and families. Without such issues addressed, Maine cannot make a prudent and comprehensive decision in the best interests of our citizens.”

The Governor has also stated that the State of Maine will not expand Medicaid under the current structure that exists because it is not affordable.

Governor Paul LePage issued the rejection letter Thursday to arrive by Friday, Nov. 16, which is the deadline the federal government initially gave states to declare their intentions. On Thursday, HHS extended the deadline for states to make a decision on a state based exchange until Dec 14.

The full text of the letter is included below.

November 15, 2012

The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary
Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Ave, SW
Washington, DC 20201

Dear Secretary Sebelius:

With the November 16 deadline for states to determine whether we will participate in the health care exchange program per the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) upon us, I am writing to make you aware of Maine’s decision. As you know, the State of Maine has had a number of concerns regarding the implementation of the 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, this letter serves as the state’s position regarding this issue.

Since the ACA was signed into law, the State of Maine, along with several other states, has repeated on a number of occasions and we continue to believe that the law has severe legal problems, is bad policy, and overreaches into the lives and pocketbooks of fellow Americans.

On November 14, 2012, I stated that our state would 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. 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.

Furthermore, many of the ACA regulations remain incomplete two and a half years after the bill passed. The legal status of portions of the bill remains unresolved, and there are too many unanswered questions. Complex technicalities make interpretation challenging, and unknown financial obligations—at a time when we face a fiscal crisis that we have yet to resolve—become extremely burdensome to businesses and families. Without such issues addressed, Maine cannot make a prudent and comprehensive decision in the best interest of our citizens.

We urge you to make public, as other states have requested, any contracts signed for the development of the federally facilitated Exchange. These documents would help states make informed decisions about the costs, timeframes, scope, operations and responsibilities of the federal exchange.

This law robs states of the ability to innovate and find cost-effective solutions that meet the needs of their citizens. We want meaningful reform, but the ACA masquerades as a free-market idea when in reality it is a stepping-stone to a single-payer system. Maine will not be complicit in the degradation of our nation’s premier health care system.

We need to address the real concerns of our health care system. I offer to work with your administration in finding workable, effective reforms and market solutions to the grave challenges we face.

Sincerely,

Paul R. LePage

Governor

cc:   The Honorable Olympia Snowe
The Honorable Susan Collins
The Honorable Michael Michaud
The Honorable Chellie Pingree
Commissioner Mary Mayhew
Commissioner Anne Head
Superintendent Eric Cioppa
Stefanie Nadeau

Verso Paper Corp. Reports Third Quarter 2012 Results

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

MEMPHIS, Tenn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Verso Paper Corp. (NYSE: VRS) today reported financial results for the third quarter and nine months ended September 30, 2012. Results for the quarters ended September 30, 2012 and 2011 include:

  • Adjusted EBITDA before pro forma effects of profitability program of $50.2 million in the third quarter of 2012, compared to $23.5 million in the second quarter of 2012 and $64.2 million in the third quarter of 2011. (Note: Adjusted EBITDA is a non-GAAP financial measure and is defined and reconciled to net income later in this release).
  • Net loss before items of $12.0 million, or $0.23 per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2012 compared to net loss before items of $43.1 million, or $0.81 per diluted share, in the second quarter of 2012 and net income before items of $0.8 million, or $0.01 per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2011.
  • The closure of the Sartell mill resulted in an aggregate pre-tax charge to earnings of approximately $97.2 million in the third quarter of 2012. This includes approximately $16.3 million for severance and benefit costs; $75.8 million in non-cash charges for fixed asset and other impairment charges; and $5.1 million related to other costs.

Click Here to read the full report from Verso Paper Corp.

Maine Turnpike Tolls Increase Today

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

The Maine Turnpike increased toll rates are now in effect.  That means just a little more for each trip and probably more traffic on I-295 at least temporarily.   For the new tolls both cash and with the discounted EZ-Pass, visit the Maine Turnpike Authority’s website: http://www.maineturnpike.com or the Maine Turnpike EZ Pass Webiste: https://ezpassmaineturnpike.com/EZPass/.

Editor’s Note: November 1st the Turnpike website is scheduled for maintenance throughout the day.

Maine Turnpike board gives tentative approval for toll hike

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

The Maine Turnpike Authority Board of Directors voted Thursday on a tentative toll increase scheme that would raise $21 million a year…the plan would[also] raise commercial truck rates…

Read more in the Portland Press Herald

Governor LePage invites businesses to take survey

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

AUGUSTAGov. Paul LePage is encouraging businesses to respond to the 2012 Maine Business Survey, which is available online and pose about 40 questions.

Responses received over the next several weeks will help drive future economic policy decisions by the administration.

Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner George Gervais says the survey gives businesses a unique opportunity to influence Maine’s future business climate and their very own profitability.

The survey asks businesses to rate everyday challenges from attracting and retaining employees to overall infrastructure needs. It also digs deeper into specific policy areas such as workforce development, regulation, access to capital and incentives, workers compensation and marketing.

Editor’s Note: You can participate in the survey by going to www.maine.gov/decd/survey or by clicking the “Open For Business logo here or on the PLC Homepage


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