No RELIEF: Lacey Act Vote Cancelled

By Karen Koenig | Posted: 07/26/2012 9:02AM

 

WASHINGTON - House leadership cancelled voting on H.R. 3210, the “Retailers and Entertainers Lacey Implementation and Enforcement Fairness” (RELIEF) Act that would have amended the current Lacey Act. No reschedule time has been given for the vote, which was originally slated for this week in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Lacey Act AmendmentsWZTVA Congressional subcommittee in May heard arguments on the Lacey Act by wood industry leaders, government agency officials and musicians. Already, wood industry representatives are sounding off for and against the decision to pull the vote from the House floor.

"The U.S. hardwood industry applauds Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor for recognizing the serious concerns we’ve raised that the proposed changes to the Lacey Act could result in significant job losses and undercut progress in curbing illegal logging,” Brad Thompson, CEO of Columbia Forest Products and president of the Hardwood Federation said in a statement supplied to the press by Climate Advisers. "We are committed to working together with Congress to do what is best for US forestry jobs and forests worldwide," Thompson added.

Also in a statement, Ilana Solomon, Trade Representative with the Sierra Club said, "We applaud the decision to cancel this week’s vote on H.R. 3210—a bill that would have devastating consequences for the environment, the economy, and jobs. We are also thankful to Representatives Ed Markey and Earl Blumenauer for their tireless efforts to highlight the importance of the Lacey Act and the ramifications of the H.R. 3210. It is now imperative that H.R. 3210 permanently stays off the floor of Congress."

The International Wood Products Assn. was among those supporting the Lacey amendment. In a statement, the group blamed "rhetoric from our opposition, who have stated that any changes to the Lacey Act would destroy U.S. jobs," as a possible reason for the RELIEF Act vote being pulled.

Sponsored by U.S. Representatives Jim Cooper (D-TN), Mary Bono Mack (R-CA) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and later modified by an amendment by Rep. John Fleming (R-LA), the RELIEF Act exempts wood and plant products harvested before the law was amended in 2008. Other changes would limit the scope of applicable foreign laws to the preservation and conservation of trees and plants, and limit the import declaration requirement to products containing solid wood instead of composites.

 

Background on Lacey Act controversy and the RELIEF Act:

RELIEF Vote Could Bring Closure to Lacey Act Controversy (blog July 2012)

Lacey Act Amendment Under Vote by House (June 2012)

Lacey Act Battle Heats Up on the Hill (May 2012)

Musicians, Environmental Groups in Tune to Stop Illegal Logging (Jan 2012)

U.S. Reps Call for Lacey Act RELIEF

Battle Lines Drawn for Amending Lacey Act (blog Nov. 2011)

Wood Industry Groups Rally Support for Lacey (Sep. 2011)

Gibson Guitar Raid: The Lacey Act Run Amok (blog Sept. 2011)

Gibson Guitar Petitions Obama to End Investigation (Sept. 2011)

Amended Lacey Act Enforcement Begins Next Phase (April 2010)

Illegal Logging Bill Passes (July 2008)

 

About the Author

Karen M. Koenig

Karen M. Koenig has more than 25 years of experience in the woodworking industry, including visits to wood products manufacturing facilities throughout North America, Europe and Asia. As Editor-in-Chief of Wood Products (formerly Wood & Wood Products), Karen’s primary responsibilities include spearheading the writing, editing and coordinating of the editorial content of the publication, along with the Red Book resource guide and the Red Book online source and supply directory (RedBookOnline.com). She is also a frequent contributor to other Woodworking Network online and print media. She can be reached at kkoenig@woodworkingnetwork.com or Google+.

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Rob Garner    
Washington,DC  |  July, 31, 2012 at 02:30 PM

Although we don't know if this the end of the Relief Act it will now be critical for companies to implement systems that will serve to complete due care. The Lacey Due Care Consensus Standard is the most practical and progressive tool on the market to complete Due Care. Its equivalency programs allow for global reach. With Strict liability it is time to have some solutions. Interested in certifying to the standard contact ForestBased Solutions www.forestbased.com

 

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