Transportation is a key vector in the movement of raw forest products from the woods to the mill. Every year more than 13 million truck loads transport logs, pulpwood, biomass, and chips from the point of harvest to a mill or storage area. FRA will actively work to improve the safety and efficiency of transporting raw forest products and improve the availability of drivers.
Guest Worker Visas
Non-immigrant labor is critical to accomplishing forestry work on private and public lands. H-2B workers are responsible for planting nearly 2.2 million acres of forestland every year. It’s critical that access to non-immigrant labor is made available to perform forestry work. FRA will actively work to improve access to non-immigrant labor that perform forestry work.
Carbon Neutrality of Biomass
Carbon neutrality of forest-based biomass is grounded in the fact that carbon emissions from forest-based biomass combustion are fully offset by working forest lands that capture and store carbon. Currently, there is regulatory uncertainty around the carbon neutrality of forest-based biomass. FRA will work with allies on this issue to achieve recognition that forest based biomass is recognized as carbon neutral.
Secondary Role: FRA will monitor and collaborate with others on the following issues that impact our members.
Independent Contractor Status
Independent contractors are essential to the wood supply chain. Independent contractors provide for a diverse logging trucking workforce who make their own business decisions that operate under contracts or agreements to provide fiber to mills. FRA will continue to support efforts that defend independent contractor status and policies that improve access to credit for these businesses.
Use of Wood Products in Tall Buildings
Improved technologies in the development of cross-laminated timbers have the potential to provide expanded markets for the solid wood product sector. FRA will provide support and monitor policies and regulations that provide a pathway for market growth in this area.
Climate Change Legislation
During the 117th Congress legislation will be introduced to reverse climate change. These policies may impact the forest products industry. FRA will monitor climate change legislation and outline potential impacts to the wood supply chain. The FRA Public Policy and Advocacy Committee developed Climate Change Resolution that was supported by FRA leadership.
Endangered Species Act
The ESA provides protections for those species that are threatened or endangered. The listing of a species has the potential to significantly impact forest operations. FRA will continue to monitor and provide comment on proposed species listings and work with our allies to make sure the most recent research is used in the determination of a species ESA status.
U.S. trade policy has the potential to benefit and harm the forest products sector. FRA will work with our allies and monitor and report on trade policies that may impact the forest products industry. FRA will also provide review and comment on trade policy to assist Congressional leaders in making informed decisions on how policies may benefit or harm FRA members.
The U.S. Forest Service is an important fiber supply source for the forest products industry in most regions of the United States. FRA will work with allied associations to assure that the Forest Service receives adequate funding to maintain and grow timber management on federal lands. FRA will support or oppose legislation that may impact our members.
COVID-19 Pandemic Stimulus Funding: The impact of the pandemic is uncertain currently. Many sectors of the forest products industry have experienced significant economic harm. FRA will continue to work with allied associations to include opportunities for these sectors to access low interest loans, grants, and other stimulus dollars that may become available to assist the forest products industry to a healthy economic recovery. These actions include incentives to stimulate home building and maintain the viability of the logging and transportation infrastructure. FRA will additionally work in support of legislation that limits a business’s exposure lawsuits that result from the COVID-19 pandemic.
FRA prepared a policy recommendation document to the Biden Harris Transition Team in December 2020. This document is available HERE.