Make your Voice Heard!

May 2, 2024
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The Hardwood Federation is celebrating a big birthday this year! 2024 is our 20th year of serving as the united voice of the U.S. hardwood industry, working on the federal issues that most ing trying to navigate the choppy waters of Congress, it is imperative that the industry be perceived as in agreement on the key issues. The Federation team is proud that this has consistently been the case and that hardwood companies have supported our efforts by engaging in Federation activities like our annual Fly-in to D.C., hosting elected officials at your facilities, participating in electronic calls to action, and last, but certainly not least, supporting our efforts financially.

As 2024 draws closer to the November elections, we encourage everyone to be politically active. Every House seat is on the ballot and one-third of the Senate. And we cannot forget the race for the White House. Thousands of state and local elections will also be run. As we continue our rounds on Capitol Hill, we encourage each and every hardwood company owner and employee to think about how they can engage… at whatever level is most comfortable for you. Your story and your top concerns may vary, but I offer the Hardwood Federation messaging talking points below as guidance for any potential outreach you may consider.

The U.S. hardwood industry is under siege from a never-ending barrage of federal government actions that impede the U.S. hardwood industry’s ability to manufacture sustainable, environmentally friendly building and industrial products, provide good paying jobs in rural America, and support the local, state, and federal tax base.  Examples include:

Declining timber sales and timber harvest projects on U.S. forest-lands. Pressure from environmental interests that ignore the forest health and fire prevention benefits of managed timber harvests, working in concert with frivolous lawsuits that put immediate stoppage to community coalition planned activities, put pressure on producers located near Federal Forests and have historically relied on materials from those forests to operate.
Definitions of Old Growth and Mature Forests on federal lands that fly in the face of science-based forest management practices, lead to greater mortality of our forests, and further limit sustainable forestry practices that support forest health, the forest products industry, and local economies.
• Federal financial support of voluntary carbon markets which in the vast majority of cases do not account for the significant carbon storage value of products made from sustainable harvest and in many cases further remove potential sources of raw materials from local wood products industry companies.
• Endangered Species Act designations and actions, particularly around bats impacted by the White Nose Syndrome that curtail forest management activities… activities that U.S. Fish and Wildlife professionals recognize as supporting both bat and forest management.
• Competitor products that claim to look and feel like real American hardwood are in fact petroleum based and largely imported from China. Despite U.S. hardwood’s superior environmental story, these products continue to eat into our market share as government officials, the press, and the general public are not well educated about the benefits of using real American hardwood in their home and office settings.

These actions fly in the face of science-based forest management and harvesting practices that IMPROVE forest health and the overall environment. Managed forests are essential to the growth of healthy, multi-generational forests that provide the needed raw materials for wood products are 50% carbon by weight. While standing trees store carbon until their inevitable death, carbon stored in wood products is forever. Congress needs to take action to support this unique American industry in the following ways:

Sign on and support H.R. 6880,  the bipartisan Hardwood Products Access and Development Program, by adding your name to the list of sponsors or working with the Hardwood Federation to introduce a Senate companion bill.
Push back on Administration and U.S. Forest Service efforts to define Old Growth and Mature Forests in a one-size-fits-all manner. Not only is this impossible to do given the vast differences in species and regional growth patterns, it ties the hands of professional foresters who understand the value and importance of forest management as related to forest health.
Require clear and demonstrable requirements for including carbon accounting of wood products in any federally subsidized carbon market program implementation.
Reform NEPA to streamline permit approval for timber harvest projects and eliminate the onslaught of frivolous lawsuits.

You may recognize some of this language from an April Call To Action asking the industry to reach out and communicate directly with their members of Congress. But for messages to be impactful, they must be repeated over and over…and over, again. These themes will also be incorporated into the Federation Fly-In to be held in late May. Think about how you can send these messages to those that represent you in Washington, D.C. Communication, constant and united, is essential… and you can play an important role.

For more information and talking points, check out

By DANA COLE, Executive Director of the Hardwood Federation



Baillie NHLA Website

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