Tea Party rallies for Gibson; Madagascar rallies against illegal logging

By Michaelle Bradford | Posted: 10/10/2011 11:38AM


Madagascar musician Razia Said organized the Concert Against Illegal Logging held Oct. 3 in Madagascar's Masola National Park. NASHVILLE, TN - Gibson Guitars, under investigation by the federal authorities for allegedly importing ebony and rosewood in violation of the 2008 Lacey Act, received a show of support from the Tea Party at a rally held Saturday, Oct. 8 in Nashville, TN. In Madagascar, source of the controversial harvest of ebony, songwriter Razia Said, organized a concert against illegal logging in the country.

Both events reflect the mounting tension over a 2008 amendment of the Lacey Act. It was under the amended law that  raids of Gibson by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service took place in 2009 and on Aug. 24 of this year. Gibson is being investigated for allegedly illegally importing ebony from Madagascar and rosewood from India. No criminal charges have been filed.

Hundreds of people attended the Concert Against Illegal Logging held Oct. 3 at Masola National Park in Madagascar. The objective of the concert according to Said was to reach people with music that speaks about the environment and to try to find solutions to protect the rainforests of the small African nation whose natural resources were devastated after a coup. “We want people around the forest to feel proud about it…and to try to keep it alive,” she said.

The Tea Party held a "We Stand with Gibson" concert Oct. 8 in Nashville, TN. A world and oceans apart, hundreds of people gathered in Nashville, TN, over the weekend to attend the “We Stand with Gibson” event, which featured Gibson Chairman and CEO Henry Juszkiewicz, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (D-TN) and Amy Kremer, chairman of the Tea Party Express.

According to the Washington Post, Juszkiewicz told reporters at the rally that he although he supports the intent of the Lacey Act, he questions the provision stating that the use of wood from India not finished by Indian workers is illegal. He called it a “misuse of environmental law. This is not about conservation or illegal logging, to my knowledge,” he told the Post.

Tea Party groups and Republicans like Rep. Blackburn see the Gibson case as an example of regulatory overreach by the Obama administration and want to see the law changed. However, wood industry groups recently voiced their support of the Lacey Act, on a conference call Sept. 20, saying that it has saved American jobs.

“We need the protection of the Lacey Act [to ensure a] fair playing field,” said Mark Barford, executive director of the National Hardwood Lumber Assn., in that call. The Lacey Act enables U.S. manufacturers to compete with artificially low prices of illegal wood. “I don’t see the need for legislative changes.”

More on Lacey Act and Gibson Guitar

Gibson Guitar Raid: The Lacey Act Runs Amok

Gibson Guitar petitions Obama to end investigation

EU Parliament acts to ban illegal wood imports

Piano firm's CEO pleads guilty to Lacey Act violations

Illegal Logging Bill Passes

Coalition affirms support of Lacey Act

Amended Lacey Act enforcement begins next phase


About the Author

Michaelle Bradford

Michaelle Bradford

Michaelle Bradford is Managing Editor of Woodworking Network magazine and Custom Built Interiors Weekly eNewsletter. She can be reached at mbradford@woodworkingnetwork.com or Google+.

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Stephen Lebeau    
Athens, Texas  |  October, 12, 2011 at 06:36 AM

In this article Juszkiewicz states that the Lacey Act is a “misuse of environmental law. This is not about conservation or illegal logging, to my knowledge”. The article then quotes Mark Barford, executive director of the National Hardwood Lumber Assn., who confirms Juszkiewicz assertion by stating that “We need the protection of the Lacey Act [to ensure a] fair playing field”. He didn't mention the forest or the trees only some fear based imagination about global competition. Government wacko busy bodies lie to us everyday about their true intentions. This legislation is all about competition and not at all about trees. Do you disagree with me? Why then didn't wood industry groups on a conference call Sept. 20, say that it has saved foreign trees as opposed to American jobs. Liars, liars, pants on fire hypocritical green idiots! We see you for what you really are.


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