Canadian Lumber Update
Zoltan van Heyningen, Executive Director for the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports, updated the FLA board in Williamsburg. He emphasized the need for continued cooperation between FLA and the Coalition and explained the effort to encourage House Members to participate in the House Lumber Trade Caucus.
The House Lumber Trade Caucus is composed of Members who represent districts with timber-dependent communities. Their mission is to promote common sense trade policy by enforcing the US trade laws and agreements, such as the Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA).
On Friday May 6, the Caucus held a Congressional staff briefing organized by Co-Chairs Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Walter Jones (R-NC), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), and Michael Michaud (D-ME). The Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports presented an overview of trade issues affecting American lumber manufacturers, workers, and landowners. Representatives from the Carpenters Union and the Forest Landowners Association were present.
Topics covered included international lumber trade issues and the impact on communities; the soon-expiring Softwood Lumber Agreement; trade agreement enforcement; and preservation of U.S. manufacturing jobs. The current agreement expires in 2013. Since all of the issues affect forest landowners through timber values, we’ll follow developments closely and let you know when the situation requires political action on your part.
In related news, John Allan, President of British Columbia's Council of Forest Industries recently complemented the Coalition. He stated that, “the Coalition is one of the best political lobby groups I’ve ever seen in action—very focused, very political…” Though the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports disagrees with Mr. Allan on the issues, his statement speaks well for the Coalition’s effectiveness. To read the full article, visit forestbusinessnetwork.com.
On the regulatory front, the US Senate Agriculture Committee approved H.R. 872, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011. The legislation affirms that pesticide application for forest management and other activities is adequately covered under FIFRA and that a duplicative NPDES permit is not needed. The full Senate must act quickly. The court ordered deadline for EPA to establish the redundant NPDES permit is October 31, 2011.
To learn more about these issues, or others affecting private forest landowners, please contact Frank Stewart or call (703) 549-0347.