The Hardwood Federation produces a “D.C. Cheat Sheet” newsletter to keep the industry up-to-date on the latest news from Washington D.C. Check out the latest updates below.
Federal Government Shutdown Avoided
As you have probably read, on Saturday, September 30, with just hours to spare to avoid a federal government shutdown, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers passed H.R. 5860, a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund government operations through November 17. Sailing through the House with a 335-91 vote, the Senate took up the bill and immediately passed it. Although the stop-gap measure creates some breathing room for lawmakers to agree on a budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023, federal lawmakers still have to come to a final agreement on 12 appropriations bills in 47 days, effectively kicking the can into the fall. Notably, the temporary funding bill does not address controversial topics such as the border wall and aid for Ukraine, issues that have divided lawmakers during the past several weeks.
House Lawmakers Introduce White Oak Resilience Act
On September 21, House lawmakers introduced the bipartisan White Oak Resilience Act (H.R. 5582). The legislation would, among other things, establish pilot programs to regenerate the nation’s rapidly aging white oak forests. According to the White Oak Initiative, “American white oak is a foundational tree species, currently occupying more than 104 million acres of public and private forestland across much of the eastern and central United States.” The legislation intends to improve land management practices that will support the sustainability of white oak trees, which forms the foundation of many forest ecosystems while providing jobs for the manufacture of flooring, and barrels that store wine and spirits.
Forest Products Industry Shares Clean Air Act Perspectives with Congress
On September 19, the American Forest & Paper Association and American Wood Council testified before a House Energy & Commerce panel, outlining reasons why EPA should use its discretionary authority to reject a proposal that would reduce concentrations of fine particles (PM 2.5) to levels found naturally in the environment. Industry also pointed out that moving forward with an unnecessary, new standard would further complicate the “permitting gridlock” currently plaguing the agency and impose more red tape on paper mills operating in or near counties currently in non-compliance with current rules. The congressional testimony is consistent with messages expressed in a letter to EPA from the Hardwood Federation and 33 allied groups, warning federal regulators that stricter air quality regulations would threaten nearly one million jobs nationwide.
Source: Hardwood Federation