Dear Majority Leader Cantor and Members of the Virginia Delegation:
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. We now call on you, our elected officials, to do the same. We strongly oppose H.R. 3210, The Retailers and Entertainers Lacey Implementation and Enforcement Fairness Act and the amendments being offered by Subcommittee Chairman Fleming intended to weaken the Lacey Act and would like to see them removed from consideration.
The U.S. forest products industry produces about $175 billion in products annually and employs nearly 900,000 men and women in good paying jobs. The industry meets a payroll of approximately $50 billion annually and is among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 47 states. An industry study prior to passage of the 2008 Lacey Act amendments estimated that illegal logging cost the U.S. forest products industry some $1 billion annually in lost export opportunities and depressed U.S. wood prices. In Virginia alone the wood products industry employs 14,150 individuals and has an annual payroll income of over $611 million.
Because of the seriousness of this issue, the forest products industry has worked within a unique coalition that also includes environmental groups, labor organizations, retailers and others to identify and address improvements needed to encourage full and timely implementation of the Lacey Act. The coalition has continued bipartisan consensus talks in the U.S. Senate. Pending House legislation departs from that productive approach, threatening to impose detrimental changes to the law.
The Virginia forest products industry, dominated by small, family owned businesses, has a proud tradition of providing sustainable and legal resources to our customers both domestically and around the world. 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. The recent attacks on the Lacey Act are attacks on Virginia jobs in an industry already facing serious economic pressures. Our Virginia companies ask that there be no action on H.R. 3210 and/or the Fleming Amendments and that they be taken off the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. We stand ready to work with you and your colleagues on finding alternative approaches.
American Hardwood Export Council – Reston, VA
Barnes Manufacturing Co. – Kenbridge, VA
Blackberry Mulch – Hillsville, VA
Blue Ridge Lumber Co. – Fishersville, VA
Columbia Forest Products – Chatham, VA
Derr Flooring – Herndon, VA
Fitzgerald Logging and Lumber – Buena Vista, VA
Griffith Lumber Co. – Woolwine, VA
Hardwood Plywood & Veneer Association – Reston, VA
Neff Lumber Co. – Broadway, VA
Northland Forest Products – Troy, VA
Northland Forest Products – Manassas, VA
The Penrod Company – Virginia Beach, VA
Roanoke Forest Products – Roanoke, VA
Robert S. Coleman Lumber Co. – Culpeper, VA
Shenandoah Forests – Staunton, VA
Stuart Hardwood Flooring – Stuart, VA
Ten Oaks Flooring – Stuart, VA
Turman Hardwood Flooring – Galax, VA
Turman Hardwood Pellets – Galax, VA
Turman Lumber – Hillsville, VA
VFP, LLC – Mint Springs, VA
Virginia Forestry Association – Richmond, VA
W.R. Deacon & Sons Timber – Lexington, VA
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