ICYMI: Virginia Forestry Summit 2020 to Go Virtual
On June 10th, VFA announced that it would co-host the first-ever virtual Virginia Forestry Summit during this summer. The virtual Summit will be a 2-day event taking place on August 12 and 13, 2020, from 8:00am-1:00pm each day. Thanks to the generous support of our Sponsors and Exhibitors, participation in this event will be free for all members of VFA, SAF-Virginia and/or ACF-Virginia. New registration information and an updated event schedule for the virtual Summit will be shared by the end of June.
Temporary Forest Products Transportation Exemptions to Expire on June 14th
On March 19, 2020, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) issued notice of temporary overweight, overwidth, registration, license, and hours of service exemptions for carriers transporting emergency relief supplies through Virginia for the purposes of combat the novel coronavirus. The original waiver, and a subsequent extension on May 13th, designated the transportation of forest products for these purposes as eligible commodities under this waiver.
Earlier this week, VDOT generally excluded forest products and most other commodities from a narrow waiver extension through mid-July. For the VDOT extension letter, including what products will continue to qualify for exemptions, click here.
DOLI Issues Proposed Emergency COVID Employer Regulations, VFA to Comment
VFA is currently reviewing and will submit formal comments on emergency workplace regulations proposed yesterday by the Virginia Department of Labor & Industry (DOLI). On May 26th, Governor Northam issued Executive Order 63, directing DOLI to "promulgate emergency regulations and standards to control, prevent, and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace."
The issuance of these regulations represents a significant shift away from voluntary employer compliance since onset of the COVID-19 outbreak. In a May 31st article in the Virginia Mercury, the Governor's Chief Workforce Adviser Megan Healy was quoted, following a petition by labor advocates for enhanced regulations at poultry plants, as saying: "The governor said, if you’re writing these standards, let’s do it for all workers and not just poultry workers.”
Members are encouraged to review the proposed regulations (link). Please share any thoughts or concerns with VFA Executive Director Corey Connors via email, or by phone at (804) 278-8733, ext. 101, so that they may be incorporated into VFA's comments. The deadline for written comments is June 22, 2020 in advance of an emergency meeting of the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board on June 24th, when the proposed regulation and public comments will be formally considered.
Rob Farrell Op-Ed: "For a Healthier Chesapeake Bay, Trees are the Answer"
"This week is Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week, the perfect time to focus on the many ecological contributions of Virginia’s forests. Forestland has long been recognized as one of the best land covers for protecting water quality and an important strategy for helping the commonwealth meet the targets of its Chesapeake Bay Watershed Improvement Plan."
For the full June 4, 2020 op-ed that appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, click here. Governor Northam Unveils Updates to "ConserveVirginia"
Governor Northam announced updates to the Commonwealth’s data-driven land conservation strategy and multilayer mapping tool for identifying high value lands and conservation sites. Per reporting, ConserveVirginia 2.0 includes three significant changes that reinforce the Governor’s priorities on water quality, historic justice, and equity.
For the full June 11, 2020 article from WVVA-TV, click here. VA Tech Faculty Use Innovation/Engagement to Adapt to Online Education
“I’ve worked to engage with students, but I’ve also tried not to stress them out,” explained Assistant Professor J.P. Gannon, who teaches environmental informatics in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation. “My approach has been to work on the challenges in a direct way, trying to get my students to talk with me.”
For the full June 11, 2020 article from the Roanoke Star, click here. VIDEO: Lynchburg Working to Save Ash Trees in the City
Lynchburg is saving ash trees throughout the city. With help from the Virginia Department of Forestry, city leaders are treating ash trees in parks, cemeteries and other areas.
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