FRA’s 2017 Policy Priorities

The U.S. wood supply system is the largest and most highly developed in the world, providing the raw material that furnishes our country’s seventh largest industrial sector:  forest products.  Overregulation threatens this system’s ability to continue to serve both its economic and environmental goals in a sustainable manner, especially in view of the large role small business plays in this system’s function and management.  FRA monitors and engages public policy processes that impose unreasonable costs and overly burdensome processes on the wood supply chain or that impede sensible reforms that might enhance competitiveness.

Paralysis by overregulation places in jeopardy the livelihoods of mills, employees, and dependent communities; harvesting and forest operations contractors and their employees; and the ten million private, institutional, and industrial forest landowners that support its resource base.  In the end, a dysfunctional wood supply system would not only be economically devastating but would expose the forest resource to wildfire and disease, leaving watersheds and wildlife habitat vulnerable and compromising the character of our country’s landscape.

What is overregulation?  The intrusion of government into the management of private business to an extent not justified by the duty to promote the general welfare or to achieve transparency in exercising that duty.

2017 Policy Priorities
Impact: U.S. forest industry is compelled to spend more on per-unit raw material transport than its global competitors do. Enabling a log truck to increase its payload by one quarter could reduce total hauling costs by close to that amount and (conservatively) reduce net costs per delivered ton by 5%.
Impact: The U.S. wood supply chain relies on landowners, loggers and other wood suppliers, and wood consumers being able to enter into sales and service contracts within a reasonable framework. Obstructions to the right to contract freely which emerge in Congress and at the Administration’s initiative obstruct wood supply. If logging were done exclusively by company crews, a reasonable estimate would be a 15%-20% average increase in wood costs, exceeding $1 billion annually nationwide.
Impact:  Listing the Northern Long-Eared Bat for protection under the Endangered Species Act, and unnecessarily obstructing the forest management operations that have allowed it to thrive and expand its range, would severely damage commercial forest management and the wood supply chain without addressing the root causes of the threat to the species.
Impact:  Regulatory overreach makes reforestation on private and public lands unaffordable. Inflexibilities in wage determinations and program rules would conservatively increase annual treeplanting costs by over $260 million.
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