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.
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:
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