Why U.S. Woodworkers Should Support the Lacey Act

By Dana Cole | Posted: 10/26/2012 11:07AM


Dana Cole Hardwood Federation The Hardwood Federation, the industry’s united voice in Washington, DC, reviewed with interest Brent McClendon’s recent blog regarding the “continued fight against Lacey.”

Although it is unclear exactly what Mr. McClendon finds to oppose in the current law and exactly what he intends to fight for in the future, it may be instructive to review the key reasons why the Federation and our member associations, representing thousands of hardwood companies, strongly supports the Lacey Act and the protections it offers to the industry.

* The Hardwood Industry has suffered tremendous employment and economic losses in the past several years. Jobs have declined by nearly 300,000 since 2006 and countless mills have been forced to shut down due to economic pressures. The Lacey Act is important as it offers a fair and level playing field for U.S. workers negatively impacted by the flow of illegally harvested wood and wood products into the country.

* The Lacey Act amendments of 2008 that included hardwood timber within its jurisdiction is the result of bi-partisan efforts, including democrats and republicans, environmentalists and business leaders, large and small hardwood timber interests.Since 2008, global illegal logging has been cut by 22%, in no small part to the power and influence of the Lacey Act.

* Since 2008, global illegal logging has been cut by 22%, in no small part to the power and influence of the Lacey Act.

* In 2006, the U.S. ran a $20.3 Billion deficit with China is the forest products sector. In 2010 the U.S. realized a $600 million surplus in large part to the Lacey Act, which led many Chinese manufacturers to search out low-risk, legally sourced wood.

* Cutting trees outside the boundaries of the law devastates environmentally sensitive forests and parks around the world. The Lacey Act is intended to stem the flow of illegally harvested timber into the U.S. and is serving as the model for legislation around the globe, including the European Union, Australia and Japan. The U.S. should be proud of its leadership on the international stage regarding the preservation and protection of environmentally sensitive forests and parks around the world.

The Hardwood Federation is strongly in favor of maintaining the protections offered by the Lacey Act.  If Mr. McClendon has specific thoughts regarding further improvements to the Act, we are more than happy to discuss them  with him.

Dana Cole is executive director of the Hardwood Federation, the largest Washington, DC-based hardwood industry trade association that actsas an industry advocacy voice on Capitol Hill. The Federation is an umbrella organization representing trade associations engaged in the manufacturing, wholesaling, or distribution of North American hardwood lumber, veneer, plywood, flooring and related products. Members include the American Forest & Paper Association, Hardwood Plywood & Veneer Association, Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association, National Hardwood Lumber Association and the Wood Component Manufacturers Association.

Related Content
Blog: The Fight to Fix the Lacey Act Has Just Begun 10-6-12

Gibson Guitar CEO Speaks Out on Lacey Settlement 8-8-12

Blog: Little Fanfare for Lacey Vote Cancellation 7-30-12

Blog: Battle Lines Drawn for Amending Lacey Act 11-4-11

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October, 29, 2012 at 10:54 AM

It is good to have partisan officials applying their hob-nailed boots to our neck. We need more oppression and more gulags. Vote democrat for more of the same.

October, 31, 2012 at 12:28 PM

Seems to be an ongoing misconception that folks just like Brent want to dismantle the Lacey Act whereas in actuality, they simply want to maintain the strength of the act while making sure that American businesses are not subject to the same accusations that Gibson had to go though. This was a situation with no charges were filed, but MILLIONS were lost on behalf of what this broad Act allow the DOJ to do to a 100 year old American company. The Lacey act is the single most effective thing ever to happen to the timber industry, but innocent people trying to run a sound American business have no guarantees that the same thing won't happen to them. Its almost broad enough to let the government decide what "due care" is in any situation and find wrongdoing in almost ANY business. Better make sure your ship is tight because this can happen to anyone, even after the exporting country puts in writing to the US that said company has broken no laws... I thought this act was about obeying "foreign" laws. I guess its up to the US to decide if we broke other country's law regardless of what them say.

Alexandria, VA  |  November, 01, 2012 at 08:46 AM

I appreciate the interest in our guest blog, although I'm not sure why there are quotes suggesting we don't support Lacey. As IWPA's guest blog on this same site highlights our support for Lacey and for efforts to improve Lacey. If the title "Fight to Fix Lacey" does not make clear, then a recent write up by the European Timber Trade Federation on a presentation I made in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia may help. "Brent McClendon of the International Wood Products Association said that the prosecution of Gibson Guitars under America’s Lacey Act highlighted the impact that breaching illegal timber laws can have, costing the company US$600,000 to settle. And he urged all US companies to study the detail of the case and its potential implications for them. "We helped implement the legislation for timber and we’re thrilled with what it can do, but we want to help it to do it better,” he said. Among the concerns, he added, was that Lacey meant importers complying with “an unknowable set of foreign [timber] laws” and had no “innocent owner protection”. “Legality under Lacey is both simple and complex, and it’s turned out more cumbersome than industry or government anticipated,” he said. Reform, he added, would not just help US timber companies, but their suppliers and the effectiveness of the Act." http://www.ettf.info/tackling-illegal-timber-–-achievements-and-anxieties I would also direct interested parties to IWPA's website, where we have a wealth of information on the solutions we have advocated to the Hardwood Federation and Congress starting in October, 2011. http://www.iwpawood.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=14 We welcome the interest of the Hardwood Federation in working on solutions.

Georgia  |  November, 07, 2012 at 09:30 AM

I think Ms. Cole is being disengenuous when she states: "Although it is unclear exactly what Mr. McClendon finds to oppose in the current law and exactly what he intends to fight for in the future.." McClendon stated fairly clearly the issue that faced Gibson Guitar company is an untenable one. If a company faces losses of millions through no fault of it's own, why would Cole support that? Simply repeating that the wood industry has suffered losses doesn't really tell us why we should support the Lacey act. And if the Lacey Act is one of the causes of those losses, then why should we support it? How about a little more depth folks?


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