This week the U.S. House of Representatives is poised to vote on a bill to undercut efforts to address illegal logging. House leadership has announced that the RELIEF Act will be up for a vote on the House Floor next week. This bill would hurt U.S. companies and workers as they have consistently pointed out.
CBS Evening News in Tennessee just had a great segment on how businesses in Tennessee will be impacted if the RELIEF were to pass. So here are the key points from a business in Tennessee and throughout the country (the whole segment is worth watching).
Mike Millard and his wife Donna of McMinnville Manufacturing (from McMinnville, TN) - a hundred year old, hardwood floor manufacturing plant were interviewed and here is what they had to say:
"It's tough enough and you throw something else at us where you are at a disadvantage because of cheap products that have been harvested illegally, and then it could cost jobs," explained Mike Millard.
"We just want to make sure the playing field is level," Millard said.
Here is what over 50 forest industry companies and organizations had to say including American Forest & Paper Assoc., Anderson Hardwood Floors, Plum Creek Timber Co., International Paper Co., Hardwood Federation, California Redwood Assoc., Domtar, Lake States Lumber Assoc., Oregon Forest Industries Council:
“Our organizations stand in strong support of the Lacey Act and all that it has accomplished in addressing the issue of illegal logging worldwide since its passage in 2008. We strongly oppose legislation such as H.R. 3210, The Retailers and Entertainers Lacey Implementation and Enforcement Fairness Act, H.R. 4171…which weaken this important law.”
“As forest products companies in the great Commonwealth of Virginia we stand united in our support of the Lacey Act and all that it has accomplished in addressing the issue of illegal logging worldwide since passage of the 2008 amendments.
Illegal logging and the threat posed to Virginian and American jobs and forest resources by illegally sourced products throughout the world is being addressed by the Lacey Act, allowing our industry to compete fairly in the international market.”
So with key businesses and workers speaking out against the RELIEF Act, why would the House of Representatives take up this issue? After all, this bill would unleash illegal loggers, hurting American companies, putting jobs at risk, and damaging the environment at the same time. That is a lose-lose proposition.