Action alert

Attention forest landowners, resource managers and all those who promote the sustainablity of our forest landbase.........

Your help is needed.
Contact your legislators today and request their support for
SB 243 / HB 226
State Capital Projects - High Performance Buildings - Green Globe Rating

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Hearing set before Senate Budget & Taxation (B&T) Committee on February 11 at 1:30

Action needed:
  • Contact your legislators, members of the Senate B&T Committee and DNR Secretary John Griffin and get their support for SB 243 / HB 226 State Capital Projects - High Performance Buildings - Green Globe Rating .
  • Contact information for all Senators and Delegates can be found on the Maryland General Website. Contact or find a Legislator
  • Inform other Tree Farmers and forest landowners of this issue and encourage them to do write and call.
  • Thank those that are already supporting this effort: Senators Greenip (lead sponsor), Brinkley, Colburn, Edwards, Harris, Middleton, and Stoltzfus Delegates Beitzel (lead co-sponsor) , Bates, Boteler, Eckardt, Elmore, Frank, Haddaway, McComas, Miller, Myers, Norman, Riley, Serafini, Shewell, Smigiel, Sossi, Stifler, and Stull
  • Copy the MFA office on your letters and emails.
  • Come to Annapolis and testify. Numbers count! MFA is working with ATFS and AF&PA on this effort. Hearing details at
Why is this needed?

SB 243, will amend the High Performance Buildings Act of 2008 to include Green Globes (GG) as a viable option to meet the required High Performance Buildings (green building) standards. GG is another program for Green Building standards and in addition to recognizing wood that Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified, it also recognizes and gives credit for wood grown under the American Tree Farm System and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.

As of 2008, there are 58,049 acres of SFI forests and 1155 certified tree farms in Maryland, covering 162,969 acres. Because the State's use of the LEED system in meeting the high performance building mandate, SFI or ATFS forests owned by Maryland's tree farmers cannot be used. Furthermore, it is more likely that the wood in State buildings will wind up coming from other states, or even overseas, than from Maryland.

As a result, many certified Tree Farmers growing acres of wood in Maryland miss out on a market when LEED is being used as the Green Building standard. This creates an additional disincentive to keeping their forests in forest.

The "High Performance Buildings Act" of 2008 mandated that all future state building projects adhere to green building requirements. MFA is in favor of "green buildings". The problem, however, is that the only method specifically named in the Act for rating these buildings is a system called Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

As MFA has noted before, LEED only provides credit for wood products from forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a system that is common overseas but not widely used in Maryland. In "high performance building" or "green building" projects, wood building materials that come from sustainably managed forests provide higher ratings. However, with its FSC only policy, wood grown under the American Tree Farm System (ATFS) or the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), both nationally recognized certification programs, is does not receive credit and is therefore not usable within the LEED program.

In 2005, Green Globes (GG) was in the MD green building legislation that was enacted. GG was listed in statute alongside LEED in the bill's definition of "high performance building." At the time, all parties agreed to GG inclusion. The LEED proponents were willing to put GG in if we agreed to lobby for the signing of the bill (which we did).

Last session, the "High Performance Buildings Act" passed and turned the act from voluntary to a mandate and in the process it also struck GG from the statutory definition.


This year's effort to amend the Green Globes language back into the High Performance Buildings Act needs your help! This is an issue that needs as many voices as possible to speak out in support of the stewardship efforts of our forest landowners and industry!

Further proof of the need for this change to the High Performance Buildings Act is documented below in an article from the Cumberland Times News regarding the casino that is to be built at Rocky Gap.

If this "LEED Only" mentality continues, wood grown by Maryland's dedicated Tree Farmers and lands with SFI certification will not be able to be used for a building in the middle of a Maryland State Park.

DNR sets strict conditions for Rocky Gap gambling parlor

Tess Hill, Cumberland Times-News
January 06, 2009 - CUMBERLAND - The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Maryland Economic Development Corp. have come out with a location and set of development conditions for the video lottery terminal near Rocky Gap State Park.

The new facility will be located on land currently leased by MEDCO for operation of Rocky Gap Lodge & Golf Resort. The building must be a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design gold certified green building, separate from the lodge and at least 200 feet from the shoreline. It will also be subject to specific architectural and landscaping conditions.

Bob Brennan, executive director of MEDCO, said the site was selected after analyzing what MEDCO believed a gaming company would want to use.

"We heard from gaming companies that they wanted to be as close to the front door of the lodge as possible," Brennan said.
He said the site was validated years ago when a gaming operator came in to look at it.

"By locating near the existing lodge and requiring environmentally-friendly features such as LEED gold certification and green energy and site design, the video lottery facility will compliment the existing resort," said Eric Schwaab, DNR deputy secretary. "With these special conditions, the new facility's impact on the lake and outdoor recreation at Rocky Gap State Park will be minimized."

Brennan said the solicitation of bids is occurring through the Maryland State Lottery. He said the process began in December and responses are due by Feb. 1. The slots facility location commission will then review applications.

"Whoever wins the bid will still need to negotiate with MEDCO and DNR and some other parties to be able to obtain the right to use the site," Brennan said.

He said the additional standards for construction are there to ensure the new facility is consistent with the construction of the existing hotel as well as aesthetically pleasing.

"We're smack-dab in the middle of a state park, we're not going to allow 40-foot neon signs," he said. "We need to make sure that as proposals come in the applicants understand this."

Some of the special conditions include reforestation of the area. If any trees are removed for the facility's construction, the licensee must replant lost forestland with American Chestnut trees to meet a "no net loss" standard.

Another special condition is a replacement aviary facility. Because the current aviary may be impacted, the licensee is required to construct a replacement aviary facility at a location determined suitable by the Maryland Park Service.

Licensees also have the optional task of including a scenario of acquiring all of the existing facilities in their proposal. These scenarios would be subject to agreement with the DNR and MEDCO and approval by the Board of Public Works.

On Nov. 4, Maryland voters approved a constitutional amendment legalizing slot machines at five locations across the state, including 1,500 machines at Rocky Gap.

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