December 14, 2007

Combat Illegal Logging Legislation Passes Senate

Washington DC - U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore) announced today that an amendment based on the Combat Illegal Logging Act was included in the Farm bill (H.R.2419) which passed the Senate by a vote of 79 to 14. Wyden introduced the "Combat Illegal Logging Act of 2007" earlier this year in order to halt the trade of illegal timber and timber products. American manufacturers are increasingly struggling to compete with the low-priced wood and wood products being harvested from illegal sources and illegal logging is a source of severe environmental damage in many parts of the world. The bill now moves to a conference committee to work out differences between Senate and House versions of the legislation.

"This legislation addresses an illegal logging crisis," said Wyden. "Oregon workers and communities are threatened when American companies are forced to compete with illegal foreign imports. Stopping the importation of illegal timber helps protect the environment, supports living wage jobs, and levels the playing field for American manufacturers."

The legislation expands the Lacey Act — which currently regulates trade in fish, wildlife, and a limited subset of plants — to prohibit the import, sale or trade in illegally-harvested wood and wood products.

By curbing illegal logging in regions including the Amazon, the Congo Basin, and Siberia, Wyden's legislation works to preserve and protect ecosystems that are being destroyed by this devastating practice.

The amendment enjoyed broad bipartisan support and was cosponsored by fourteen Senators including Lamar Alexander (R-TN), John Kerry (D-MA), Russell Feingold (D-WI), Jeffrey Bingaman (D-NM), John Sununu (R-NH), Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Joseph Biden (D-DE), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Judd Gregg (R-NH), Max Baucus (D-MT), and Ken Salazar (D-CO).

The amendment is the product of extensive negotiations with the American Forest and Paper Association, the Hardwood Federation, and the Environmental Investigation Agency. The Combat Illegal Logging Act enjoys the collective support of the timber and timber-products industry, organized labor, and the environmental community including:

American Forest & Paper Association
American Home Furnishings Alliance
Center for International Environmental Law
Conservation International
Defenders of Wildlife
Dogwood Alliance
Environmental Investigation Agency
Friends of the Earth
Global Witness
Hardwood Federation
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
International Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
International Wood Products Association
Lowe's Home Improvement
National Association of Home Builders
National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association
National Marine Manufacturers Association
National Wildlife Federation
Natural Resources Defense Council
Rainforest Action Network
Rainforest Alliance
Sierra Club
Society of American Foresters
Sustainable Furniture Council
The Nature Conservancy
Tropical Forest Trust
United Steelworkers
Wildlife Conservation Society
World Wildlife Fund