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The Final Word by Chuck Swann
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Pulp and paper producers are quite used to environmental directives and requirements being issued by Washington, D.C.--especially by, but not limited to, the US Environmental Protection Agency. But who is monitoring what goes on in state governments? A quick answer is that every mill owner and operator should be. The USEPA's Clean Power Plan offers each state carbon reduction targets, but largely leaves the details on how to reach those targets in the hands of state and local regulators.

First announced in June, 2014, the CPP proposed regulations to limit greenhouse gases from fossil fuel-fired electric generating units. These sweeping regulations establish state-specific goals for reductions. EPA anticipates finalizing the CPP by June 1, 2015.

Some national legislators are working to kill the Clean Power Plan, but with little likelihood of their success, many states have started meeting with their stakeholders and local legislators. One new report has it that most states have already started planning how to comply with the CPP, and even looking at some multi-state compliance plans. By one estimate, 41 of the 50 states are looking at such multi-state plans while considering their own local plans.

An example of positive intervention at the state level can be found in a recent experience in Pennsylvania. The American Forest and Paper Association, which is headquartered in Washington, and normally gives most of its attention to the goings-on in the national capitol, sent representatives to meet with lawmakers in Harrisburg, the state capitol, on April 13.

Operating within Pennsylvania are 274 pulp, paper, packaging and forest products facilities. They employ about 53,000 people with an annual payroll of approximately $2.7 billion and pay estimated state and local taxes of $173 million annually. The objective of sending the delegation to Harrisburg was to get the legislators to understand the importance of the industry to the state.

They succeeded. On the day after the visit, the state legislature passed a resolution declaring the day, April 14, as Forest and Paper Products Day in Pennsylvania. The seeds planted by the paper and forest products representatives in the minds of the legislators undoubtedly will affect the treatment of the industry in coming legislation and regulation.

Chuck Swann is the senior editor of Paperitalo Publications. He can be reached by email at chuck.swann@taii.com.



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