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Saturday, August 8, 2020
COVID Emergency Employer Standard in Effect, VFA Resource Center Updated

Upon its publication on July 27th, Virgnia's first-in-the-nation Emergency Workplace Standard for COVID-19 went into effect. The new Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) applies to "every employer, employee, and place of employment in the Commonwealth of Virginia within the jurisdiction of the VOSH program," regardless of size or business type. Fines for violations could range from $13,000 to $130,000, and may increase for repeat offenders.

VFA has updated its COVID-19 Resource Page with resources to assist members in their compliance with the new ETS. This includes a brief summary of requirements for all employers, a link to templates and resources provided by the Virginia Department of Labor & Industry, and a webinar with Virginia VOSH expert Courtney Malveaux that was sponsored by NFIB and the Virginia Manufacturers Association.
VAForestPAC Board Issues Challenge, Pledges Record-Setting Matching Funds

Citing a critical need to "gather the resources necessary to educate a new generation of public officials on the importance of our industry, our products, and our people to the Commonwealth of Virginia," the VAForestPAC Board of Trustees issued an emphatic call-to-action this week in a mailing to Virginia's forest stakeholders.

In its letter, the Board announced the largest pledge of matching contributions in the history of VAForestPAC. "To meet our 2020 fundraising target, the VAForestPAC Board of Trustees has pledged to provide a dollar-for-dollar match of up to $10,000 for all contributions made by October 31, 2020,the Board wrote. "We believe that this year’s fundraising target of $20,000 will allow us to reinvigorate our Political Action Committee at this most important time, while giving us an opportunity to fully explore and develop new fundraising events and opportunities when public health conditions better allow."

VAForestPAC was created to support candidates for elected statewide office who demonstrate understanding and leadership on issues favoring Virginia's diverse forestry community, namely: promoting the sustainable use and conservation of forest resources to ensure their long-term benefits for all Virginians. To make a contribution that will be matched by the PAC Board, please visit the VAForestPAC page or click on the logo above.
BREAKING: Rep. Abigail Spanberger to Address Virginia Forestry Summit

Just this week, VFA confirmed that U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-7) will be joining the outstanding lineup of speakers for the upcoming virtual Virginia Forestry Summit on August 12-13, 2020. 

First elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018, Congresswoman Spanberger began her career in public service, first serving as a federal agent with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigating money laundering and narcotics cases, and then serving as a case officer with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). 

In the 116th Congress, Rep. Spanberger serves as Chair of the Conservation & Forestry Subcommittee of the House Agriculture Committee. She also recently joined Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE-2) to introduce the bipartisan Growing Climate Solutions Act of 2020, a bill that would provide tools for forest landowners to better access carbon credit markets.

Registration for the 2020 Virginia Forestry Summit, which is free for members of VFA, SAF-VA and ACF-VA thanks to our generous sponsors and exhibitors, will remain open through tomorrow for those interested in hearing Rep. Spanberger's remarks when they are broadcast. Please note, you must be registered in order to participate in the Summit's live events. Register today at
With Wildlife Corridor Plan, Officials Hope to Reduce Collisions with Animals

"Wildlife sightings are commonplace for anyone who spends time on Virginia’s highways. But many drivers are also all too familiar with the danger that can arise quickly when animals venture into the human-made spaces crisscrossing their habitats.

Virginia drivers have a one in 74 chance of striking an animal, according to insurance statistics compiled by State Farm, a number that consistently puts Virginia among or near the top-10 most dangerous states for vehicle-animal collisions. But state officials are hoping to change that by requiring a more thoughtful approach to how transportation infrastructure might affect wildlife."

For the full article from the Virginia Mercury, click here


VDOF Offers Cost-Share to Remove Ash Trees from Public Property

"In response to the statewide decline of ash trees due to the introduction of the emerald ash borer, the Virginia Department of Forestry is offering financial assistance to remove dead or dying ash trees from the public landscape. Municipalities, local government agencies, nonprofit entities on public lands, and/or tribal communities are eligible to apply to receive funding through this 50% cost-share program, according to the VDOF. No private companies or landowners are eligible."
For the full article from the Amherst New Era-Progress, click here.


Balancing the Budget: How Should VA Handle Economic Situation Amid Pandemic 

"Lawmakers are headed back to Richmond this month to put together a new budget, one that takes into account the new economic situation presented by the pandemic. And, they’ll be considering a number of proposals for raising new revenue."

"Other options for new revenue include restoring Virginia’s estate tax, closing tax avoidance loopholes for corporations and creating a new tax on digital products."
For the full article from Virginia Public Radio, click here.


State Forestry Department Nurseries Grow Millions of Seedlings for Landowners

"The Virginia Department of Forestry’s seedling nurseries in Augusta and Southampton counties produce millions of tiny trees for landowners, foresters and conservationists."

"The VDOF seedling program has been active for more than a century, restoring millions of acres of Virginia forestland. Both nurseries are state entities that are entirely self-funded and employ dozens of part-time and seasonal workers."
For the full article from the Augusta Free Press, click here.


Attendance at Virginia State Parks is Up During Coronavirus

"Nearly 112,000 more people have visited Virginia state parks so far this year than during the same time in 2019, as the coronavirus pandemic forced millions to find an outdoor alternative to being stuck inside their homes.

People started to go to parks more often than the prior year beginning in March, when Virginia had its first confirmed coronavirus case. In at least one park, attendance shot up 242% between February and March. Overall, visits are up about 3.6% so far this year."
For the full article from the Virginian-Pilot, click here.


Yancey Lumber Zoning Violation Appeal Hearing Deferred Again

"An appeal hearing for a zoning violation against R.A. Yancey Lumber Co. has been deferred a third time.

The initial deferrals were to allow the Albemarle County company’s multiple special exceptions for certain setback requirements and other ordinance regulations for equipment and buildings to go before the Board of Supervisors. The board approved 14 special exceptions in July, but three requests are to be voted on by the board at its virtual meeting Wednesday."
For the full article from the Daily Progress, click here.


Virginia Lumber Dealer Postpones 115th Anniversary Celebration

"A Virginia lumber supply company founded in 1905 is recognizing 115 years in business, but not celebrating just yet. Williams Lumber Supply of Brookneal, now moving into its fourth generation, has postponed an anniversary celebration until fall, due to COVID-19.

'I always say anyone can sell something once, but your business is built on repeat customers,' said Joe Lunsford, owner of Williams Lumber Supply."
For the full article from LBM Journal, click here.

To Save the Hemlock, Scientists Turn to Genetics and Natural Predators
Washington Post - August 1, 2020

The eastern hemlock is not one of those ubiquitous, celebrity trees such as the white oak or the white pine. Throughout much of its range — from northern Alabama up to...MORE

Farm and Forest Carbon Incentives Can Help Climate and Rural Economies
The Hill - July 31, 2020

In the coming months, as Congress turns to longer-term investments to help an economy and job market hurt by the coronavirus crisis, policymakers should consider using...MORE

Foresters Could Lead on Carbon Drawdown
Sightline Institute - August 5, 2020

The temperate forests of the Pacific Northwest are the Olympic athletes of the carbon world. They can store more carbon, acre for acre, than nearly any ecosystem on...MORE

Ethical Wood Label to Revive Checks After Pandemic Sparks Forest Fears
Thompson Reuters Foundation News - July 30, 2020

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which lends its ethical label to household products worldwide, said on Thursday it would ramp operations back up by September...MORE

Enviva Completes Acquisition of Georgia Biomass
Canadian Biomass Magazine - August 5, 2020

Enviva Partners, LP, a leading global energy company specializing in sustainable wood bioenergy, has announced the completion of its previously announced...MORE

Are Young Trees or Old Forests More Important for Slowing Climate Change? - July 30, 2020

Forests are thought to be crucial in the fight against climate change—and with good reason. We've known for a long time that the extra CO₂ humans are...MORE
August 14, 21 and 28, 2020 - Fifteen Minutes in the Forest

Spend 15 minutes in the forest with Virginia Tech and Virginia Cooperative Extension Foresters each Friday at noon to learn about timely forestry topics.
October 2, 2020 - Logging Safety Seminar

Don't miss this great safety training scheduled for October 2, 2020 at the Virginia Antique Truck & Tractor Museum.  Attendance is limited and you must register. Click here for more details.  Eligible for SHARP Logger and SAF continuing education.
Copyright © 2020 Virginia Forestry Association, All rights reserved.
The VFA Voice

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(804) 278-8733

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