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American Loggers Council outlines priorities for Trump

Jan. 16, 2017 - The American Loggers Council (ALC) outlined key priorities on Monday for the 115th United States Congress and the Trump Administration’s first two years. As the national organization representing America’s professional timber harvesters, ALC believes the new Congress and president should take advantage of a historic opportunity to protect and create family-wage jobs.

“Voters sent a clear message that it’s time to put Americans back to work, and strengthening the forest products industry is one way to accomplish that goal in communities across the country,” said Daniel Dructor, ALC executive vice-president.

“Professional timber harvesters provide the raw materials that supports manufacturing jobs in many sectors, from lumber to renewable energy. Many logging companies are small, family-owned businesses. To keep American loggers working in the woods, President Trump and Congress should pursue reforms in federal regulations and land management, as well as labor, transportation and energy policies,” he said.

ALC’s top priorities include:

Regulatory Accountability Act: The American Loggers Council joins the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in supporting swift action on Regulatory Accountability Act that has already been approved by the U.S. House of Representatives (HR 5). The legislation builds on established principles of fair regulatory process and review that have been embodied in bipartisan executive orders dating to at least the Clinton administration. The act would make the regulatory process more transparent, agencies more accountable for their decisions, and regulations better-tailored to achieve their purpose without unnecessary burdens on stakeholders.

Federal Forest Management Reform: Much of America’s forest land is controlled by the federal government. While a large portion of federally-owned forests are non-reserved and suitable for sustainable timber production, harvest levels on federal lands remain low. With up to 80 million acres of federal forest land vulnerable to wildfire, insects and disease, and in need of treatment, ALC supports reforms to increase the pace and scale of forest projects. ALC supports sensible reforms to the National Environmental Policy Act and Endangered Species Act, and supports giving the U.S. Forest Service adequate resources to prepare and implement forest projects.

Future Careers in Logging: Like farming and ranching, the timber harvesting profession is often a family-run business where the practice and techniques of harvesting and transporting forest products from the forest to receiving mills is passed down from one generation to the next. Timber harvesting operations are very similar to family farms with sophisticated and expensive harvesting equipment that require young men and women to learn how to run the business, including equipment operation and maintenance, before turning 18.

Currently, there are no on-the-ground programs in place to facilitate that training and ensure the sustainability of the timber harvesting industry’s next generation of family members who choose to enter the profession. ALC supports extending the agricultural exemption now enjoyed by family farmers and ranchers to train their 16 and 17-year-old sons and daughters to carry on the family business to mechanical timber harvesters.

Carbon Neutrality of Biomass: Congress must pass legislation formally recognizing the renewability and carbon benefits of biomass energy derived from wood and plant material, putting biomass in the same category as wind, solar, and other renewables. Often derived from bark, sawdust, treetops, and low-quality wood unsuitable for home building or furniture, biomass can be used instead of fossil fuels to produce heat and electricity, resulting in significantly fewer emissions than conventional energy sources. Science recognizes biomass is a well-established way to reduce greenhouse gas pollution. As the federal government mandates the production and use of renewable energies, recognizing the carbon neutrality of biomass would provide certainty and increase investments in biomass facilities.

Predictable and Uniform State-Federal Transportation Standards: Across state lines, loggers and truck drivers often encounter patchwork and inconsistent transportation laws and regulations. ALC supports more predictable weight limit standards for hauling forest products, and other measures to improve efficiency and safety.

The American Loggers Council is the only national organization solely dedicated to representing the independent contract logger on the national level. We have the combined forces of independent contractors and state and regional logging associations around the country to impact our industry positively and pro-actively by sharing the benefits of education and training opportunities, networking, research, promotion and legislative coordination. The council is committed to enhancing the logging profession, establishing a more level playing field for professional loggers and providing accurate information about the logging profession to the forest products companies, landowners and the public. It serves as a national network and communication center, linking local, state and regional organizations around the country.

January 16, 2017  By American Loggers Council

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