WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and a bipartisan group of senators wrote to the Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) to express strong support of the inclusion of S.538, Timber Innovation Act (TIA) in the upcoming 2018 Farm Bill.
In the letter, the senators write, “The steps taken by S. 538 to promote the application of mass-timber technologies will assist the U.S. Forest Service in achieving their mandate of maintaining healthy, sustainable forest production for years to come.” The Senators believe that enacting the TIA “will drive innovation in engineering, as well as provide rural economies with a new market and the tools necessary to achieve long-term prosperity.” This piece of legislation has a strong base of bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress.
In March 2017, Senator Cantwell reintroduced the Timber Innovation Act with Senator Stabenow. “Devastating fires across Washington state have cost billions to fight. Innovative timber products and long-term timber contracts could help us achieve better forest health while bolstering local economies,” said Senator Cantwell, “This is something the forest products industry has shown us time and again: new innovations and technologies can create new markets for wood and assist us in maintaining healthy working forests.”
The letter led by Senator Cantwell was also signed by Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Steven Daines (R-Mont.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), and Angus King (I-Maine).
The full letter can be found below and here.
Dear Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Stabenow,
We write to express our strong support for the inclusion of S. 538, the Timber Innovation Act (TIA), in the forthcoming 2018 Farm Bill. As you are aware, this bill enjoys a strong base of bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress.
The steps taken by S. 538 to promote the application of mass-timber technologies will assist the U.S. Forest Service in achieving their mandate of maintaining healthy, sustainable forest production for years to come. By expanding the research and development of mass timber technologies and applications, the TIA presents Congress with the opportunity to support the deployment of a proven-safe, domestic renewable resource. Passage of this important legislation will drive innovation in engineering forward as well as provide rural economies with the market and tools necessary to achieve long-term prosperity.
Importantly, the legislation does not sacrifice building safety or structural integrity. Mass timber has been used safely in Europe, Australia and Canada for many years and is fully aligned with International Code Council’s (ICC) model building code for up to six stories in the United States since 2015, with recommendations under review for buildings as tall as 18 stories by the end of the decade.
We greatly appreciate your consideration of our request and hard work on behalf of agriculture across the United States. The 2018 Farm Bill is the opportunity to be landmark legislation for America’s forests, and we look forward to working with you on this important endeavor.